Developed over the last 20 years, the drawings, paintings, and photographs of urban landscapes by British artist Andy Burgess have become a sustained meditation on the relationship between architecture and art. He creates his works by sketching, photographing, and distilling images from direct experience and the internet. In 2009, Burgess moved from London to Tucson, Arizona, a change that shifted the tenor of his works, now saturated with vibrant color and the dramatic light of the American Southwest.
Photography is an essential tool for Burgess, which allows him to explore the formal concerns of light and shadow, perspective, and point of view. American architectural photographer Julius Shulman, known for images of mid-century buildings by noted architects Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, Charles Eames, and Pierre Koenig, are important source materials for his new series of works. Burgess also finds inspiration in the reflective qualities of glass and the sleek lines of steel and concrete in Wexler Steel Houses in Palm Springs, designed in 1962 by Donald Wexler and Ric Harrison.
To reduce a scene to its essence, Burgess eliminates extraneous information to concentrate on flat planes and an invented palette made pronounced by intense color. With or without signs of human presence, Burgess does not project himself into the scene; he places himself in a position akin to a film director, spurred by a fascination with 1940s film noir settings. In each of his paintings, collages, and prints, Burgess envisions a pristine world made ordered and bright, full of promise yet studied restraint.
Included in the exhibition are selections of objects and furniture that captures the spirit and essence of the period that inspires the work of Andy Burgess. These objects and furniture reflect clean, simple designs that emphasize curves and geometric shapes. Burgess’s paintings often include objects or pieces of furniture, which provide a glimpse into the human occupancy within the architectural setting.
Mid-Century Perspectives: Paintings by Andy Burgess and Objects of Modern Design at the Tucson Museum of Art is presented by the Tucson Museum of Art Contemporary Art Society.
Generous support of the 2017 – 2018 Exhibition Season at the Tucson Museum of Art is provided by the Connie Hillman Family Foundation, James J. and Louise R. Glasser, Anne Y. Snodgrass, BMO Private Bank, and AC Hotel Tucson; with additional support by the Kautz Family Foundation and RBC Wealth Management: Richard A. Schaefer, Vance L. Falbaum, Bobby Present, Doug Mance, Tim Dunne, and Linda Immerman-Stoffers.