Although I grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut in the seventies, I had the good fortune to travel to Beirut, Lebanon at the age of 13. My uncle was a naval attaché stationed there. He was a very gregarious man and he knew everybody, from street cleaners to diplomats to the Prime Minister. Together we would walk the streets. Beirut was a virtual orgy of the senses. The colors of the people in all manners of dress, the architecture, ornament, craft and culture, the smells wafting from restaurants and street vendors, the sounds of different languages and calls to prayer were so unlike everything I had known in Greenwich. The experience left an indelible impression.
Yet wasn’t until years later, when I had started to develop a more mature understanding of my artwork and had traveled again to Eastern and Islamic countries, that I began to incorporate the sensibility of those cultures into my artwork. Using the full visual language of abstraction—color, shape, line, mark, and texture — I merge the traditions of Islamic pattern and abstract expressionism.
I also find inspiration in the nature of the East End—the reflections of the water, the play of sunlight through the fog, and the colors of the sky at ‘the magic hour’ all make their way into even the most abstract of my paintings. For me, however, painting is not the reproduction of nature as much as the dynamism of visual forces. I do not want to reproduce the visible, I want to create an experience of perception.
about the artist
Perry Burns was born in New York in 1956. He received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1988.
Burns has lived on the East End of Long Island for the past 25 years and has exhibited widely in the area and beyond. His solo shows include: Cheryl Hazan Gallery, New York; ARC Fine Arts, Larchmont, NY; the Islip Art Museum; the Scope Art Fair in London; Sara Nightingale Gallery in Watermill, NY; Lizan Tops Gallery in East Hampton, NY; and Comerford Hennessey in Bridgehampton, NY. Group shows include: Ille Arts and Neoteric Fine Art, Amagansett, NY; Silas Marder Gallery, Bridgehampton, NY; the Artists Chose Artists show at the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, NY.; Guild Hall, East Hampton; Spainerman Gallery in East Hampton and Spanierman Modern in New York; and ArtAspen and ArtHamptons.