Miyako Yoshinaga art prospects presents Joseph Burwell’s drawing, painting and sculpture in an installation that mimics the appearance of a “future-day” museum archeological exhibit. For his first New York solo exhibition, Burwell reconstructs an environment based on his former studio, a converted garage in Brooklyn, New York.
The result is a carefully staged artist’s workshop referred to as “School of the Viking Spaniard” which plays off his half-Puerto Rican heritage and Icelandic birthplace. It’s phrasing uses the language of art history to obscure both the era and the authorship.
On walls, shelves and sawhorses, an array of Burwell’s artwork is displayed, along with maps, photographs, tools and other artifacts. For his color drawings intensely executed with pencil and marker pen, Burwell fuses miscellaneous historical and archeological information from different cultures and religions.
His sculptural forms reflect his interest in negative architecture and compliment the spaces in his drawings. While it’s true that the remnants of archeological information are often used to help reconstruct history, they may also be used to invent it. It is through this misinterpretation that Burwell eliminates established hierarchies and composes his potential stories.
Burwell’s installation, with bright colors, clashing patterns and absurdist sensibilities, demonstrates his surreal sense of humor over the more serious topics of religious and cultural identities.
At the same time, his makeshift studio in a gallery space signifies both the vitality and vulnerability of contemporary artists who, like Vikings or Spaniards, without knowing it themselves, might well be creating their legacies for future historians or archeologists.
Burwell was born in 1970 and began to study architecture at Savannah College of Art and Design in 1988. He received his B.A. in Studio Arts in 1993 from the College of Charleston.
In 1999, Burwell received his M.F.A. in Sculpture from Tulane University in New Orleans, and in 2000 he moved to New York City. He has participated in residencies at The Cooper Union, PS 122 Project Studio Program and The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace Program.
Burwell has shown in New York, Switzerland, Finland, Ireland, Egypt and Canada among others. New York venues include PS 122, NURTUREart, Exit Art, Vertex List and M.Y. Art Prospects.
The gallery is located at 547 West 27th St. 2nd Floor bet. 10th & 11th Avenues. Subway access; C and E to 23rd Street.
Hours: Tues. – Sat. 11am – 6pm.
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