571 Projects is pleased to present still point: sky scapes by Berta Burr, a solo exhibition of 12 oil on canvas paintings as part of 2020 Vision: Reflections on a World-Changing Year, an initiative of the Vermont Curators Group. These contemplative paintings echo lines from T.S. Eliot's poem "Burnt Norton," where he writes, "At the still point of the turning world … do not call it fixity, / Where past and future are gathered." Burr's quietly powerful paintings offer a meditative haven from the uncertainties of the world. Her first exhibition with the gallery, these works constitute an ongoing painterly and conceptual exploration into the infinite conjugations of atmosphere and light through this artist's delicate, nuanced brushstrokes. The exhibition will be on view from November 12th 2020, through February 20th 2021 at 571 Projects, 56 Park Street, Stowe, Vermont. The gallery currently offers distanced, contactless or virtual private views, available by appointment.
Burr delights in rendering skies, in the variety and depth of this daily unfolding drama, in all the nuances of whites and grays against a full spectrum of blues, and her paintings feel expansive despite the modestly sized canvasses. Diving into the seemingly impossible task of capturing on canvas the insubstantial and ever-changing, the artist leans into her technical abilities finding that, in Eliot's words, "there the dance is." Burr says, "My painting is motivated by a need to view the world with a degree of detachment that allows for the possibility of beauty." Her sky scapes, fixing this transient beauty, are a statement of calm in these chaotic times. Titles of these aerial works refer to the birth dates of dear ones, permeating her brushstrokes with loving intention. In 5/4 (2019, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 in.) a wispy cirrus cloud floats against a pale delphinium blue sky, while in 2/18 (2019, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 in.) a puffy cumulus cloud twists upward. Focussing her compositions on dispersing and coalescing clouds, Burr connects the viewer to the immensity of the wide open sky, and alludes at once to the sublime and the quotidian. Capturing the shifting beauty of cloud and sky, her paintings are profound, poetic and elemental: with great gentleness she offers the viewer a moment of wonder and a lens through which to rest the weary mind.
A native of Buffalo, New York, Berta Burr grew up near the Albright Art Gallery (now the Albright-Knox), which gave her early exposure to modern and contemporary art through its world class collection. Her interest in fine art was further nurtured at home where, as the daughter of an avid amateur artist, art materials were never in short supply. Establishing a studio in 1967 with her husband, an accomplished harpsichord maker, Burr worked as a harpsichord decorator specializing in 17th and 18th century styles, an exacting discipline which honed her skills as an artist. Work as a gilder and restorer has given her a rare and informed level of craftsmanship. Since the early 1990s Burr's studio output has been directed toward original paintings in oil energized by her unique eye and training.
The Vermont Curator's Group is a network of museums, galleries, and cultural centers specializing in fine art, history, science, and craft, and presents "2020 Vision: Reflecting on a World-Changing Year."
2020 Vision invites you to engage with 47 museums & galleries throughout Vermont to experience a suite of exhibitions and events, both online and in-person, that explore how the year 2020 - whether through the pandemic the racial justice movement, the election, and more - has changed us all.
Take part in the statewide cultural conversation from wherever you are, with a calendar of in-person and online exhibitions at www.VermontCuratorsGroup.com, and a passport to reward exploration.