Justin Joseph Bursk : BEFORE MYEYES

Justin Joseph Bursk : BEFORE MYEYES

110 Church Gallery is located on Church Street off 2nd Street in the Old City Arts District of Philadelphia. The intimate art gallery is on a tiny alley as you walk towards the Delaware River and even on hot Summer days a cool breeze blows off the water. Getting there on a First Friday art crawl can be challenging with street vendors hogging the sidewalk but once you get off the main drag you will find a welcoming and artistic experience. The first time I visited Justin Joseph Bursk : BEFORE MYEYES‘s art show I was wiped out from the heat and crowds and really didn’t get what i was seeing. But a second visit on a quiet Saturday brought the one-person art show into clearer focus.

Lovely watercolors, quirky sculptures and intriguing tableaus relate to the nearby river with impressions of sun, waves, sails and wind. The rich blues and murky brown paintings with pops of sunny yellow are delightful reminders that we Philadelphians live between two flowing bodies of water rich with history and adventure. Each artwork resonates with nature elements and the joy of sailing. Pairs of circles are a theme running like a stream through the exhibition reminding us to open our eyes to the power and beauty of the water that surrounds the city.

Justin Joseph Bursk : BEFORE MYEYES

Justin Joseph Bursk : BEFORE MYEYES

The visual metaphors of the setting sun and wavy water feels like sailing a boat and steering through the currents. The simply mounted watercolors are shown in multiples, each piece echoing the others with stripes and abstracted circles in complementary colors and watery brushwork. The sculptures using tree branches are delightfully childlike reminders of trying to build a sailboat with sticks and sheets of paper like kids playing pirate or trying to escape a deserted island.

The narrative runs strong and true as the rushing river that fascinates and allows the mind to wander to adventures on the water. As Summer nears it’s inevitable end, the illusions of playing by the water, eyes blurred from the sun glaring off the ripples, is a wonderful reminder to take time to explore our natural surroundings and imagine being a kid again trying to build a raft and sail down the river to destinations unknown.

Justin Joseph Bursk : BEFORE MYEYESJustin Joseph Bursk : BEFORE MYEYES

Justin Bursk works and plays in a small town outside of Philadelphia with his wife and children. He has had the honor of working with public school children as an art teacher for the last 15 years. He earned his MFA in Painting from the University of the Arts in 2003 and his BFA from Tyler School of Art in 1997.

He has shown in numerous group exhibitions including: Hubris, Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago; Playing with fire, Texas Firehouse in New York, NY; and Greater PhiladelphiaMoore College of Arts, Philadelphia.


Saturday, September 7, 2013, 3 – 6:00 pm

EXHIBITION: Friday, August 2, 2013 through Saturday, September 21, 2013

ARTIST TALK Saturday, September 7. 2013

Justin Bursk makes paintings, drawings, and interactive sculptures that allow him to explore themes of play, wonder, and the sublime. The work speaks of adventure and adapting to the unexpected.

Justin’s work is made from the materials that he comes upon or seeks out. He tinkers and explores. The results are blatantly homemade, producing an awkward situation.

“I use what I use to do what I do to get done what I need to get done.”

Excerpted from heavy bubble websites for artists.

Written and photographed by DoN Brewer except where noted.

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