Saturday, August 18, 2012


OM.2012.205 - Randy Burman - Tribute to Rene Magritte - 8.25” x 8.375” x 3.5 - 2010
Repurposed wood box, gold frame corner, wood, hand-brushed sheet metal and model steam train engine

 This work unapologetically uses interpreted elements of Magritte's iconic Time Transfixed. In explaining Time Transfixed, Magritte said: "I decided to paint the image of a locomotive . . . In order for its mystery to be evoked, another immediately familiar image without mystery — the image of a dining room fireplace — was joined." It is in the surprising juxtaposition and scale shift of these common and unrelated images that their mystery and magic arises. Magritte transformed the pipe of a coal-burning stove into a charging locomotive, situating the train in a fireplace vent so that it appears to be emerging from a railway tunnel. The tiny engine races out into the stillness of a sparsely furnished dining room, its smoke neatly floating up the chimney, suggesting in turn the smoke of coal in the stove. TRIBUTE TO RENE MAGRITTE was part of the Small Works exhibition at Artformz collective.


To say my assemblages are spontaneously created would be an understatement. The mysterious process of creation is the closest thing I can think of to magic. In the studio I am surrounded by a mountain of collected objects, some bought, some found. Although my hands and brain play a part in the selection process, I practically just watch them, as they pair themselves together to become a poetic dialogue of combined and juxtaposed and often banal objects. I most often don’t begin with a fixed outcome in mind. Yet, as the various parts join together, they appear to suggest philosophical concepts that are more than the sum of their parts. There is a lot of  trial and error –  I’ll hold up one object next to another, try different arrangements, and at some point, like a bolt of lightning, the “AHA!” moment strikes where I intuitively understand that, “this is it”.  

For all the spontaneity and mixing together of objects, my aesthetic is based on a dominant reductionist theory. If I could reduce the developing concept to a single dot, I would. In fact, if I could eliminate the dot, I’d be even happier. Part of my process is certainly informed by my many years as a graphic designer and particularly my technique in designing logos, where I would start with a group of concepts and distill them down to the most minimalist graphic form to convey a clear message or identity.

An art observer describing my art practice said: “Burman is an irreverent social commenter and mirthful provocateur who creates assemblages which provide an environment to examine and question the integrity of human nature.” Don’t know that I could have articulated it any better, or even as well. Wish I had said that. I define my practice as focused on philosophical concerns and social issues that convey my observations on life, the human condition and our search for meaning. It’s my intention to create works that express metaphysical narratives and that hopefully reach profoundly into our psyches to address our deepest yearnings, frustrations, and beliefs.

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