A SUNY Canton Faculty Member’s new work blends layers of natural chaos with artistic design.
Matthew J. Burnett, an Assistant Professor in the College’s graphic and multimedia design program, is currently displaying his most recent collaborative painting project “Clusterphobic” through July 26, at the 7444 Gallery in Saranac Lake.
His most recent work is about layers. Burnett and his colleague Scott Fuller have created a series of large-scale mixed media panel paintings inspired by the layering of beautiful or compelling patterns he’s observed during time spent in the Adirondacks. Fuller is department chair of the Visual Arts program at St. Joseph’s College in Maine and is an advisory committee member for SUNY Canton’s GMMD program.
“We are constantly trying new ways to push the mediums we work with to new levels,” Burnett said. “This body of work lends itself to innovation by its very nature. A natural occurring phenomenon like a pile of sticks, or the textures of a tree, can influence one of these pieces.”
Fuller prepares the base layer by silk-screening repeating patterns to a large panel. On a separate panel, Burnett paints his own compositions and physically cuts away areas to create negative space. The two panels are attached together to create an overall unified composition of the two artists’ work.
“We do not make matter, we collect and reassemble it,” Burnett said in a description of the show. “We do not materialize new relationships, we enable new expressions of what we have experienced.”
Also featured at the 7444 gallery is a community minded effort by Burnett and gallery director Todd Smith. The pair refurbished a vintage cigarette machine to dispense small pieces of artwork created by more than 20 regional artists. Each piece costs $1. The machine, loosely dubbed “Smokin’ Art,” is part of the burgeoning Saranac Lake Arts scene, and will be featured at various public locations during the “Third Thursday” celebrations. “Saranac Lake is becoming a hub of contemporary and traditional artists, and I’m proud to be a part of it,” Burnett said.
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