Vermont Arts Council

Sharing Stories

Details in one of Kate Burnim’s paintings spurred the first conversation. Daryl Burtnett saw an entire story inside a small portion of the piece. The two artists talked about that, and have spoken many times since. The painters were showing up in the same spaces, the same shows. Each visited the other’s studio. What dialogue led to this joint exhibit?

Daryl starts. “What’s really motivating to me is finding a kindred spirit in the appreciation of beauty in the world that’s maybe not solely what’s pretty. There are things that are just kind of achingly beautiful, and they have to do with loss or change. That’s where the name [of this show] was coming from for us: finding ourselves caring about, and responding to things that are beautiful, that we love—people, places, and things, or the ideas of people, places, and things, even as we face their loss.” Kate brings in the word “impermanence,” the phrase “noticing the passage of time” and adds “There are parts of what he’s noticing that are also what I’m noticing . . . I think that act of stopping and taking a photograph, or sitting in a space, feeling into the space, is staying present and appreciating it right now—as well as where it came from and probably where it’s going. For me, the act of making the work allows that to go even deeper.”

These are the concepts made visible in Almost Forgotten: works exploring the overlooked through line, shape, and texture, a show featuring both artists’ work opening in the Spotlight Gallery May 3.

Daryl Burnett's "One, #12.” Top left image is detail from Kate Burnim's "Doors Round Back."
Daryl Burnett’s “One, #12.” Top left image is detail from Kate Burnim’s “Doors Round Back.”

Still in Motion

Daryl worked in land conservation until 2017. That process, for him, wasn’t “so much about putting a protective glass dome over something so it doesn’t change, but about loving the fact that it’s wild and natural, and respecting that it’s going to change.” He feels heartbroken by the reality that mankind is harming the world and, at the same time, intent on appreciating the beauty the exists even as he acknowledges that heartbreak and that loss.

Those ideas shade his painting. “You like something and you want to keep it. I’m not trying to keep it.” He offers a better word, which is “reconjuring.”

This resonates with Kate. She shares about growing up in urban and rural landscapes–the middle of London, England, then less inhabited areas of New England “and having this deep love of both. She thinks both artists’ work looks at something she describes this way: “I don’t know if ‘collision’ is the right word. Sometimes it’s a creeping, or a seeping, or a washing over of nature and humankind; we are touching our planet in pretty heavy-handed ways. Yet the dandelions are going to make their way through the concrete, water is going to erode the walls, the plaster; the mortar is going to be washed out of the brick, the moss is going to creep in there. That’s really time’s passage over space. And the strength of these softer gentler places are forces in our world.”

The works in the gallery bear witness to this.

—Almost Forgotten: works exploring the overlooked through line, shape, and texture will be in the Spotlight Gallery May 3-June 28, 2019.

visit Kate Burnim’s website

visit Daryl Burtnett’s website

Susan McDowell

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