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Maurice Burns: A Vibrant Refrain

November 10 - December 31, 2017 // Cinematheque Gallery 

Opening reception on Friday, November 10, 5-7pm in the Cinematheque Gallery

The Center for Contemporary Arts (CCA) is pleased to announce the presentation of the exhibition A Vibrant Refrain by Maurice Burns, opening on Friday, November 10, 2017 with a public reception 5-7pm in the Cinematheque Gallery. The exhibition is on view November 10 through December 31, 2017.

Richly textured and layered with bold, saturated color, Maurice Burns’ paintings are invigorating and conceptual. Deeply influenced by Jazz greats like Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk, Burns aims to paint like Monk composes - with intention, drama,  and reflective dissonance. His subjects seem to be swaying to music, even when depicted at rest. Street dancers and musicians photographed on a trip to Cuba find themselves painted into delightful invented settings on Burns’ vibrantly-hued canvases. Burns lets each painting evolve from a free form of associations, beginning with a figure who, as Burns puts it, “exists in its own world,” followed by random images as he is inspired to add them. The result is a fanciful trip into the mind of Maurice Burns, where the most important thing is the freedom to be alive and express yourself.

Maurice Burns took a winding path to becoming a painter. A Vietnam veteran-turned-burned-out computer systems designer for Chicago City College who practiced drawing in his spare time, Burns decided to take advantage of the newly reinstated GI Bill and go back to college. Valuing freedom over money, Burns left a prosperous career designing computer systems, sold his Porsche, and applied to art schools. “My future was in my freedom; not my financial position,” he asserts. Burns landed a spot at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) to begin his formal art education, immersing himself in the painting program there, and moved on to the Royal College of Art in London to earn his master’s degree.

Transplanted to Santa Fe in the 1970s to take a teaching position at IAIA, Burns began immediately making his mark in the community by co-founding the visiting artist residency program in collaboration with his new friend and colleague, artist TC Cannon. “I came here,” says Burns, “with the goal of getting a studio where I could live and just paint for the rest of my life. That was 42 years ago, “ and he shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

Burns has exhibited nationally and internationally at venues such as: the Royal College of Art in London, IAIA, New Mexico Museum of Art, and Albuquerque Museum. Early in his career he was featured in the 1977 book Black Artists of the New Generation by Elton Fax, and was included in Who’s Who in Black America in 1981. Additionally, he has been featured in publications such as Santa Fe Art, Davenport’s Art Reference, Santa Fe Arts Journal, and THE Magazine.

Image: Maurice Burns, Monk’s Mood, 2014, oil on canvas, diptych, 60” x 96”