Best of 2016
Tom Burckhardt @ Gregory Lind
Gawky, totemic, retina-tingling and multi-layered, Tom Burckhardt’s paintings don’t just split the difference between representation and abstraction; they render the distinction null and void. The eleven works that comprised City Slang mixed the tribal-influenced abstract painting of Steve Wheeler, the comic figuration of Philip Guston and the Surrealism of the Hairy Who painters, Jim Nutt and Karl Wirsum. One can also detect traces of Carol Dunham and even stronger hints of the Brazilian landscape architect/painter, Roberto Burle-Marx. Burckhardt, without appearing derivative, works these influences into collisions that suggest body parts and landscapes. While we’re conditioned to think that painting should be one thing or the other, representational or abstract, Burckhardt refuses to submit to any singular approach or orthodoxy. Instead, he operates from the position that doubt and ambiguity are central to his working process.