In Gallery 2, ELIJAH BURGHER, presents works on paper that address magick and sexuality. The show opens on Friday, March 16th, 2012 with a free public reception from 5 to 8pm and will run through April 14th, 2012. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11am to 6pm and by appointment.
Yes, we do hatch fantasies in shitty apartments in various cities around the world. You move from that car passing to the urban environment to the lives we live in those places as under-employed artists, and the frame expands outward metonymically to the recession and Wall Street and permanent war and a much larger and troubling historical ground. My point is that I'm concerned that the "real" intrude rudely in the work. That's a point I'm trying to push more directly in the drawings I am making right now.
-Elijah Burgher, November 2011
Elijah Burgher makes small, colored pencil drawings that utilize ideas from magick and the occult to address sexuality, sub-cultural formation and the history of abstraction. Citing early 20th century occultist, Austin Osman Spare’s system, Burgher draws sigils—emblems to which magical power is imputed. By recombining the letters that spell out a wish into a new symbol, Burgher’s pictures of sigils literally encode desire while embodying it abstractly through shape, color and composition. Through precise, repetitive marks, he endows his drawings with a sense of all-over intentionality. His figurative works often depict naked men conducting rituals in rented rooms or wooded landscapes. They draw the ritual circle, invoke the dead, or cut symbols into one another. Others portray counter-cultural queer icons or betray a prurient attitude towards art history’s storehouse of imagery. At stake are a concern with human relationality and a desire to close the gap between fantasy and reality.
This is Elijah Burgher’s first solo show at Western Exhibitions. He has exhibited at 2nd Floor Project in San Francisco, Shane Campbell Gallery in Chicago, Lump in Raleigh, NC, and The NY Art Book Fair in New York. Burgher was a contributor to AA Bronson & Peter Hobbs’ Invocation of the Queer Spirits publication this winter and collaborated with Terence Hannum on the zine, A Cataract of Fire & Blood. Burgher received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and BA from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxeville, NY. He lives and works in Chicago.