I am interested in the romance that we attach to natural space, an illusion onto which we project our desires and fears. Imagery of the tropical is usually glamorous, a sort of air-brushed cultural fantasy of profusion and sensuality. I like to expose its more corporeal reality, depicting vernacular tropical living spaces that one finds a few blocks back from the beachfront.
These images are collaged from personal travel photos, found photos, and art-historical references. The quilts combine painted fabric with densely embroidered elements, aiming to keep the eye on the illusory surface of the work. The paintings on paper depict ephemerality- momentary phenomena of light, and loose arrangements of elements. Painterly marks disturb the image, reminding the viewer of the flat surface.
By creating spaces that look back at the viewer in this way, I hope to challenge the motivations behind the desiring gaze with a wink towards surface beauty and spatial play.
Denise Burge received her MFA in Painting from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1991, and is currently a Professor of Art at the University of Cincinnati.
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