Recent Works by ELLEN BURCHENAL in SACI’s Maidoff Gallery

Ellen Burchenal: Recent Works on Paper

Last night in SACI’s Maidoff Gallery the exhibition of recent works on paper by Ellen Burchenal opened. Burchenal is an artist who works in painting and drawing. An instructor at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and a visiting instructor at SACI, she has lived and studied in Italy on and off for over 17 years. She has exhibited and lectured in numerous galleries and universities throughout Maryland. Burchenal has received several Maryland State Arts Council Artist Fellowships, and she completed a public art commission “Undercurrent” in the Baltimore Shot Tower metro station in downtown Baltimore. She lives with her husband and son in Baltimore, Maryland.

Ellen Burchenal: Recent Works on Paper

Ellen Burchenal: Recent Works on Paper in SACI’s Maidoff Gallery

Ellen Burchenal: "Festina Lente" series, 2012Ellen gave an informal talk in the gallery about her two bodies of work on exhibit: Festina Lente series, 2012, digital prints, and Hotel Drawings, 2009-2012, digital facsimiles of original ink and paint pen drawings.  This is her artist statement that accompanies the works:

Ellen Burchenal: "Festina Lente" series, 2012“I create drawings on paper and on walls with charcoal, ink, pastel and paint. The repetitive and tactile drawing action makes sense to me as I build a convincing image.

As coordinator of the MICA Sorrento, Italy Summer program, I have spent the last 17 summers on the Bay of Naples. Yet my introduction to Italy began much earlier. At age 19 I went to study in Rome by accident, and after that I continued to take long trips there whenever possible. I was exposed to a degree of ornamentation and passionate conversation that was contrary to my taste and upbringing.

Ellen Burchenal: "Festina Lente" series, 2012Now, in Sorrento each year, I experience the extravagance of baby blue and gold ballrooms, pink sports newspapers, giant lemons, Pompeian floor mosaics, the Neapolitan language, and an active volcano. All of this is very real in southern Italy – the comedy/ tragedy, the illusion, and the violence of unseen forces. It is this hilarity of form, the illusion of it, and the forces that act upon it that interest me.

Ellen Burchenal: "Festina Lente" series, 2012The Hotel Drawings are a series of lap-sized drawings of decorative mirrors or frames. (In this exhibition these small pieces are also digital copies of the original ink drawings.) In 2008, as MICA faculty in residence with the SACI program, I lived in the center of Florence, Italy. I was struck by how the decorative architectural forms literally elbowed me out into the street. So I have been experimenting with techniques to make the lap sized drawings as big as I am. The ink jet prints shown here, the Festina Lente series, are part of this on-going exploration of layering digital images on a larger scale.”

Ellen Burchenal: "Hotel Drawings", 2009-2012

Ellen Burchenal: “Hotel Drawings”, 2009-2012

Ellen Burchenal: Recent Works on Paper in SACI's Maidoff Gallery

An excellent example of when contemporary art meets historical as seen with how Ellen’s work and the ceiling fresco of the Maidoff Gallery visually interact.

Ellen Burchenal: Recent Works on Paper in SACI's Maidoff Gallery

Ellen Burchenal: Recent Works on Paper in SACI’s Maidoff Gallery

Ellen Burchenal: Recent Works on Paper in SACI's Maidoff Gallery

Ellen Burchenal talking about how her time spent in Italy influences her recent work.

Ellen Burchenal: Recent Works on Paper in SACI's Maidoff Gallery

Ellen Burchenal: Recent Works on Paper in SACI’s Maidoff Gallery


JANUARY 17 – FEBRUARY 17, 2013

logo_color_210.jpgJULES MAIDOFF GALLERY
Via Sant’Egidio, 14
50122 Florence, Italy
T/F 055 240 910

Open Monday – Friday, 9am – 7pm
Saturday & Sunday 1-7pm
Admission is free
Email the SACI Gallery

About SACI

SACI is a US non-profit College of Art and Design in Florence, Italy, for undergraduate and graduate students seeking accredited instruction in studio art, design, conservation, art history, and Italian language and culture. Founded in 1975, SACI offers the following programs: Academic Semester/Year Abroad, Late Spring & Summer Studies, Venice Summer Program, Post-Bac in Conservation, Post-Bac in Studio Art; MFA in Studio Art, MFA in Photography, MFA in Communication Design, Low-Residency MFA in Studio Art, MA in Art History.


  1. Fantastic – the work looks like it grew out of the walls in that beautiful gallery. Concepts inspired by Italy returning home…ahhh.

  2. Anna Tuck-Scala

    Congratulations, Ellen! Your recent works are stunning. Over the years you have repeatedly opened my eyes to looking at details in Sorrento and Naples from a different perspective, and also with a witty sense of humor. All the best, Dr. Anna Tuck-Scala, Temple University Rome Campus and John Cabot University

  3. Robin

    The blend of Italian influences with Ellen’s own perspective works perfectly! Great show!!

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