Patrick Burns: Interview

Patrick Burns, Bilateral Silhouette-072012, charcoal, polymer, acrylic on canvas
Patrick Burns, Bilateral Silhouette-072012, charcoal, polymer, acrylic on canvas, 60 × 48 inches (courtesy of the artist)

Jack Livingston interviews painter Patrick Burns.

Burns comments: "In the last few years the central image silhouette is chosen as much for its formal properties as its literal meaning, the cephalopods and now the thorn-thistle images. What I mean by that is that the silhouette contains an evocative presence both visually and mechanically. Mechanically, for me these images evoke certain aspects of twentieth century American painting, primarily Abstract Expressionists, the whip-like gesture of de Kooning, Pollock’s skein, Motherwell’s visceral black ovals from his Elegy to the Spanish Republic, Frankenthaler’s pour and spill process. The great thing about the silhouettes I choose is that they inherently contain a great many of these tropes. With the cephalopod images, from the Bilateral Silhouette paintings, the organic gelatinous nature of the silhouette, its gesture, is very much akin to the methods by which paint is applied to canvas in abstract painting. I choose the silhouette images for their firepower, their potency. With silhouettes an evocative image is the hook; it’s what’s going to connect with the viewer."