Viridian Artists is pleased to present “Dream House, and other stories," an exhibition of assemblages & paintings by Ellen Burnett. The exhibition opens June 18 and continues until July 13, 2019, with an opening reception Thursday, June 20, 6–8PM and a closing reception Saturday, July 13, 4–6PM. The artist will be present on Saturday afternoons during the exhibition to talk with visitors about her work.
Ellen Burnett came to Viridian as a winner in the gallery’s international competition of 2017, juried by Susan Thompson, an assistant curator at the Guggenheim Museum. In 2014, the artist was also selected for the Director’s Choice exhibit, Viridian’s offshoot of the juried shows that gives exposure to even more outstanding artists. This will be the artist’s first solo exhibit at Viridian.
The exhibit title, “Dream House, and other stories” suggests that each piece in the show contains a narrative. The title piece, “Dream House,” is one of a series that happens in the small hours of the night—a time when demons clamor to be seen and nightmares occur to the wakeful. Out of these images, Burnett has created a narrative intentionally open to reinterpretation by the observer.
One can begin to get a sense of Burnett’s point of view from the nomenclature of the works, which trace hints of her ambiguous meanings. More than the suggestive abstract images themselves, titles such as “A January State of Mind,” “The City at 2am,” and “The Season of Letting Go” allude to a state of mind, a mental space.
Burnett’s practice involves finding whole objects, as well as fragments and bits of discarded things, that inspire her. She collects and saves these pieces of rusted and broken remembrances, often for years, until they find their place alongside other repurposed items evoking memory and moments past–at times also pointing to a future waiting to be written. However, her work involves more than assemblages of discarded-now-found treasures, for painting and drawing also are a critical part of the process she uses to suggest her narratives.
For Burnett, things have potential beyond their initial existence and original utility, possessing inherent energies waiting to be unlocked. This is a critical consideration in the twenty-first century when too much is being discarded, destroying our environment and the world we now know. Perhaps it will be artists like Ellen, “upcycling” the discards of civilization, who will point the way to solutions for the future.