It’s been a while since I wrote about an artist that I enjoy so I thought it was time to feature Christian Burchard. People in art circles talk all the time about “organic forms” and for the most part it’s just a fancy way of saying art that flows with curves and radiuses to mimic how nature itself sculpts much of the landscape. I don’t have much patience for people making up reasons why art is important, I just know what I like about it.
As I have written many times, I love wood sculptures and wood turnings because they reflect a high accomplishment in the technical arts and exist in 3 dimensions. I guess you could say that wood is the ultimate “organic form” not just because it is itself organic but also because every piece of wood is different and to be successful with it you, as an artist, have to be able to read it and work with it not to create what you want but to uncover what the piece has in it.
Burchard is interesting to me because he is successful with so many, and very different, forms. Most wood turners and sculptors focus on single forms, like bowls, but Burchard covers the map with large sculptures, bowls, and wall hangings. I like his wall hangings, if for not other reason than we have young children so things art that hangs on a wall is kind of essential (we’ve had to put all of our glass works in storage because of this fact).
Burchard’s book series is well worth a look, not only because he creates spectacularly detailed raw forms but then employs a technically challenging finishing process to transform the wood into something altogether different. Much of art is illusion, taking one thing and transforming it to reflect something altogether different in such a manner that we don’t question the transformation but there is something more primal about Burchard’s book series, perhaps because it’s really not a transformation because paper is of course a product of wood.
If you are interested in Burchard’s work, or any number of other top artists in this field, check out Del Mano Gallery in Los Angeles.