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My work, both past and present, is underpinned by the central themes of absence, isolation, mortality and the spiritual. It is the balance between paint, process and subject matter that has maintained my visual language and its development through what on the surface may seem to have been differing themes. I am grappling with the concept of haecceity, inscape, thing-ness, essence and the ontological in the way I see a stone, rock-pool or lichen growth. The challenge is then using paint and charcoal to communicate this experience to the viewer as well as incorporating my own refractions of self, identity and awareness of mortality and the spiritual.

- Brendan Burns

Brendan Burns’ residency at Earthskin, Piha, has had to come to an early close in order for the artist to return to the UK. His exhibition at ARTIS Gallery has been postponed to early 2021. We look forward to welcoming Brendan back to New Zealand and to exhibiting the body of work he created during his residency at Piha.

My whole New Zealand experience was so special, I cannot wait to return. I am so pleased that the paintings came out honestly and with genuine feeling.” – Brendan Burns

UK based artist, Brendan Burns, works within a tradition of British artists inspired by elemental landscape. Burns is deeply concerned with the spiritual in nature, with notions of time and with the act of painting as meditative process. These ideas are central in the artist’s practice and have played a fundamental part in his recent New Zealand residency. 

For Burns the language of seeing the world involves the physical act of walking. This translation into paint is critical in his work. Time walking and absorbing the immediate area of Waitakere, Karekare, Bethells Beach, Muriwai and Kitekite greatly influenced the artist’s perception of light and colour. Initial paintings were the joyous celebration of light penetrating the Pohutukawa trees and reflections of more tropical species such as the Nikau Palms in the Kitekite stream near his studio in Piha. 

Brendan Burns in his studio at Earthskin, Piha, New Zealand