Viewing Room

Brendan Stuart Burns: Edging West

Brendan Stuart Burns: Edging West

28th November 2019


Since his last exhibition at Osborne Samuel Gallery in 2015, Brendan Stuart Burns has had a full programme of exhibitions and travelling. In 2016 he had a solo show at Rosenberg & Co on New York’s Upper East Side; 2017 saw a visit to Iceland culminating in a new body of work. In June 2018 Open Eye Gallery in Edinburgh held a solo exhibition. Later in 2018 he was invited to visit Southern California to complete a commission and he returned in the summer of 2019 for a residency, some of the resulting paintings are included in this exhibition. This autumn he returned to New York for a second exhibition at Rosenberg & Co.

In the spring of 2020, Burns will take up a two-month residency at Earthskin, a charitable trust whose mission is environmental stewardship to foster and inspire the creative arts, based in Muriwai on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. This will be followed by an exhibition in April at Artis Gallery in Auckland.

We continue to successfully exhibit Burns’ work at various art fairs – the London Art Fair, Masterpiece, The British Art Fair and Art Miami; all have brought new admirers and collectors from all over the world.

Burns’ paintings reflect his intimate study of rocks and mud-pools, the lichen in all weathers, the sand and pebbles, the powerful ebb and flow of coastal tides and winds and the erosion caused; the shimmering light on the spindrift bubbles of the sea and the vegetation on the coastal edge. All are thoughtfully observed, drawn and photographed. This provides the inspiration for Burns’ unique visual language, the ecology of the Pembrokeshire coast that also fascinated esteemed predecessors such as Graham Sutherland and John Craxton. Inevitably the topography, light and atmosphere of California has influenced his recent paintings and the upcoming New Zealand trip will surely do likewise.

These works have an understated power and energy; inspired by nature and the elements they also exude a Zen-like sense of calm. In conversation with the Welsh poet, Professor Tony Curtis, Burns explained: “Landscape art is an appropriation of nature; therefore, the painting will always be an abstraction. …. my work is not abstract in the formal sense, but it has enjoyed the relationship with ambiguity, it is concerned with inner emotion and the sensed experience of the viewer, it is about the contemplative and experience of self-reflection.”

We are grateful to Dr. Ian Massey for his catalogue essay.

Gordon Samuel, October 2019