Richmond Burton’s efforts in the Aurobora studio are an extension of the conceits of his recent paintings: an all-at-once- inclusiveness of shape, color, and movement that sweeps the viewer up in the tensions that develop within each composition. Undulating patterns become frozen gestures and then these gestures are blurred into an overwhelming chaos of activity that obliterates the prospective norm of abstraction.
In his first residency, Burton employed both drypoint and transfer techniques to create patterns and layers of information. He transformed his formal abstractions and harvested a wide-range of associations (primitive symbols, art-nouveau motifs, organic pod forms, psychedelic flourishes, Oriental carpet designs, etc.) which embellished each composition.
During a return visit to Aurobora, Burton imploded the initial grid. These works carry the inevitable contradictions of a Whitmanesque inclusiveness: at once geometric (the artist began working with hand-drawn ink forms laid out in a patchwork sequence), yet Burton’s abstractions have a rhythmic fluidity that implodes the formal grid; at once the artist’s process appears incoherent, yet the viewer senses a supreme rationality in Burton’s artistic approach; at once the compositions feel dispersed and haphazard, yet there is a formal, concentrated coherency to the imagery.
Ultimately, Richmond Burton’s work seduces the viewer because of this subversive process–because of it’s decolonization of imagery, because of its carnival-like passion–and the knowledge that in his kaleidoscopic presentations there is an opportunity to see something new.
The Art Institute of Chicago; The Eli Broad Family Foundation, California; Dallas Museum of Art (long term loan), TX; Fogg Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA; Fort Worth Museum, Texas; Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, NH; Huntsville Museum of Art, A; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Milwaukee Art Museum, WI; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; New York Public Library; University Art Museum, Berkeley, CA; Paine-Webber, New Jersey; Columbus Museum of Art, OH