artist photographer

Patricia Burns about her artistry incorporating sculptures into photographs

February 18, 2016
BearHead 1 by Patricia Burns

BearHead 1 by Patricia Burns

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Bear Head was shot in the artist’s studio by the artist of the artist. Burns often uses the bear head in her practice.

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Patricias work and the result of it is very rooted in a philosophy of feminism and the history of woman in art history and object and image making. She often questioning what it means to be an artist and a female

My work and the result of it is very rooted in a philosophy of feminism and the history of woman in art history and object and image making. I often am questing what does it mean to be an artist and a female? And how can I play with those ideas while dissecting it for myself and the viewer is some thing I am often turning over.  

I work in various mediums including sculpture, photography and performance.  I often incorporate my sculptures into my photographs, which in a way are a performance, but a performance that only takes place for me and the camera. For instance in one photo I have one sculpture of mine and I am balancing on a piece of wood extending myself from my sculpture. 

When working in the studio it is often through a series of failures that I finally am able to come up with the finished object or photo. My sculpture and photography both completely inform each other and have become completely dependent on one another to exist. I may come into the studio with an idea by most of the time it evolves and changes and rarely comes out like I had imagined and that can be the most exciting part for me.  I find chance has so much to do with the direction of my practice and almost “failing” in order to get the work to exist. 

The work definitely has feminine aspects for example the pink in the bear head photos is shocking pink. I find pink daring and alluring and full of mystery. It is also claiming power and that is something I try to convey in my work; that I am claiming space as my own.  I am not sure where the pink obsession started happening but it is definitely there and can’t be ignored. I also am heavily influenced by my dance and gymnastics training growing up and that is constantly influencing the way I use my body in my work and the gestural nature of my photographs and sculptures.

In my work I use familiar spaces and re-contextualize them to put the viewer off balance. I try to explore the limits of my body in space; my work is not narratively driven but rather seeks to create a charged space for myself and the viewer.  The work has a serious playfulness within the vastness that is the construction site, abandoned structure(s), hotel room, studio, or gallery. I want to evoke a precariousness and anxiety; creating a new level of awareness for the viewer by confronting them with objects and images that appear fragile, ephemeral, and at times dangerous. 

In using societal structures as a framework for my investigations within my photographs I seeks to destroy gender roles and paradigms that are limiting and discriminating, often promoting ideology that encourages women to be seen as nothing more than objects, both desirable and ornamental. In using humor I try to subvert archetypal female and male stereotypes.  

In terms of my background I am an American and studied in New York, Scotland, and California at various times during my college years and did graduate in California. Scotland was the place that stole my heart and I think gave me more of a “European” sensibility. I love the air, the weather, the people, and the energy of Scotland. Glasgow School of Art and University of Glasgow were an AMAZING place to be and fun and the student body is very diverse. I went and did a semester back in undergrad and was just learning what is meant to be an “artist.” I took figurative drawing and figurative sculpture at Glasgow School of Art. I think these both helped inform the influence of the body in my practice. Throughout the years I have taken numerous figurative drawing courses and have always loved the human form given that I was a dancer and gymnast.

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