Inspired by nature, Oregon artist Claire Burbridge beautifully draws magical worlds in Pathways to the Invisible, a new exhibition at the University of Oregons Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
. Jill Hartz, former JSMA executive director, curated the exhibition, which is on view from January 15 to April 19, 2020.
A catalog, including an interview with Burbridge and an essay by Emily Shinn, JSMA Margo Grant Walsh/Daura Foundation Curatorial Extern in American and European Art, accompanies the show.
We recognize the sources of her creations -- trees, flowers, plants, fungi, insects, and more --- but her subjects morph from realistic depictions into heightened realities, says Hartz. Her work encourages us to look at nature in a fresh way and appreciate the power of the creative spirit.
The exhibition features works produced since 2015, as well as new pieces, informed by a recent visit to Iceland and a Percent for Art state commission. With an almost microscopic examination of nature, Burbridge creates intricate explorations of the balance and cycles of ecosystems.
Wishing to convey my understanding of the underlying balance and cycles of undisturbed natural ecosystems, says Burbridge in her artist statement. I have employed the pictorial device of interlocking circles drawn beneath the forms. This conveys a sense of cohesion and alludes to the invisible intelligent matrix that enables the seeming chaos of nature to be held in perfect balance--birth, death, and rebirth all occurring at the same time.
Born in London in 1971, Burbridge grew up on the west coast of Scotland and in rural Somerset where she attended Wells Cathedral School. She studied for a BA in Fine Art and History of Art at the Ruskin School of Fine Arts, Magdalen College, Oxford University, before returning to her birthplace to pursue printmaking at Camberwell College of Arts where she gained a Masters degree.
Initially her medium was sculpture, but in 20l0, with her relocation to Ashland, Oregon, she returned to drawing and a study of nature.
I choose to mainly work in pen and ink, explains Burbridge, as this forces a decisive approach and commitment to problem solving once the ink is down on the paper. The marks are made up primarily of lines and pointillism, this seems fitting as our physical world is made up of waves and particles, whether animate or inanimate.
Burbridge lives in Ashland, Oregon, with her husband, the artist Matthew Picton, and their sons. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is in many corporate, museum, and private collections. She is represented by Nancy Toomey Fine Art.