Birkner is less concerned with social and cultural interpretation than with representing the vitality of memory, nostalgia, and perception. As David Cohen states, “Mr. Birkner’s sharply observed, chromatically inventive, compositionally ambitious social scenes have a slow-burning sexuality that rhymes with the bluesy resignation of the depressed town, threatening freeway encounters and proletarian amusements he depicts.”
The works of Little People / Big Picture are akin to portraits, eliminating the contextualizing environments that have defined Birkner’s work to date. Football fans, concert-goers, disco dancers, and other everyday figures are rendered on small-scale, individual canvases, unified only by complimenting color values. The resulting iconography elevates individuals while subtly emphasizing the quotidian commonalities that unite them––and the society they make up together.