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Fiercely grounded in material, form and scale, Jamie Burnes’ sculpture is hard-edged, masculine, and dedicated to his personal dialogue with wood and metal. The grace and fleetness of a horse, a bear’s lumbering solidity, the mythical proportions of an archetypical bull, and more recently, the duality of universal forms like the spiral and cone, are all in his informed studio repertoire.
The journey was begun and nurtured by family and home. Burnes’ father, a staunch supporter of environmental issues, and director at Earthwatch, gave him a love of the natural world in all its complexities. His mother, a poet, educator and wordsmith filled the home with her own intense love of animals, objects and family. But most influential was the home itself. This 19th Century, 35 ft. high and 80 ft. long barn conversion, filled with pets, pianos, wagons, silver and costume, was an irrefutable artistic nursery sowing the seeds of Burnes’ creativity. His formal education then took him to Middlesex School and Skidmore College. In the ensuing years Burnes’ work developed from his original influences of Cubism, Naturalism and the Dada movement to a more personal and considered dialogue with material, form and scale.
His focus is to create a continuing dialogue between the sculpture and the viewer. Here, he states, wood and metal become representations and symbols of the life we live, and his subjects serve as reminders that we are all part of the natural world. His primary aim is to remain true to the integrity of his ideas and hope that through “striking and pounding” he creates and delivers a message beyond the sum of the works’ parts.
Burnes’ recognition expands, as does his enthusiasm for his profession. He is currently working in New Mexico and Massachusetts on both large-scale public installations and more intimate gallery pieces. His focus is, as it always has been, to create a purposeful communication between viewer, idea, and sculpture. The works speak, and long may their conversations continue.