A Survey of Nonexistence at a Glance

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© Courtesy of the artist & MIYAKO YOSHINAGA Art Prospects
A Survey of Nonexistence at a Glance

547 W. 27th St
2nd Fl.
New York, NY 10001
February 28th, 2013 - April 13th, 2013
Opening: February 28th, 2013 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Tue-Sat 11-6


Miyako Yoshinaga presents A Survey of Nonexistence at a Glance, a selection of new works by artist Joseph Burwell, on view from February 28 through April 13, 2013. A reception will be held on Thursday, February 28 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Miyako Yoshinaga is pleased to announce A Survey of Nonexistence at a Glance, the second solo show comprising new drawings and sculpture from Joseph Burwell. This exhibition is based on the idea of altering historical narratives by generating a visual system of architectures from disparate cultures that collide in time and space. A Survey of Nonexistence at a Glance examines the vestiges of a lost architectural period and its cultural byproducts.

Burwell’s singular vision offers a world engineered by a network of realms and technologies, meticulously constructed and superimposed. The effect of architecture and space onto the psychology and emotions of people is pivotal to the artist’s work. His drawings on wood are blueprints for modular structures inspired by ancient sacrificial sites, modernist habitats and medieval fortifications. Research and study of these constructions have given Burwell a unique visual lexicon paving the way for his own architectural semiotics. The function of those edifices is also placed at the center of the artist’s approach. Inherently operational, these systems of forged structures aspire more to raise questions than to give answers.

Using ink, graphite, color pencils, and cutting tools, the artist composes the drawn structures organically, letting them grow and shape similarly to mineral formations. Empty spaces surrounding the constructions serve as a potent transitional environment. The plan site rendered through an isometric perspective, floats amongst other fragments, erased arrangements and expressive color marks. In Burwell’s architectural compositions, details of textures and materials are given a significant importance as they show how the component parts interact with one another. Through the bright coloring of particular structures (e.g. crenels, glass windows, scaffoldings), the artist not only reaches out to the influence of the early Atari games of his childhood, but also introduces an element of playfulness into these otherwise “sinister” architectures. Burwell creates a graphical language bridging subjective impressions and objective facts.

Accompanying the drawings are sections of wooden scaffolding systems supporting various objects and signs. These sculptural frameworks harbor, among other things, a sacrificial office plant and its nourishing fluorescent light, and relate directly to the elements in his drawings that enable mutations. The temporary structures are thereby alchemically transformed into monuments and shrines for unusual myths and ceremonies.

Born in Iceland in 1970 and raised in southwestern Virginia, Joseph Burwell began to study Architecture at Savannah College of Art and Design, but changed his major to Studio Arts and received his bachelors degree at the College of Charleston in 1993.  He received his MFA in Sculpture from Tulane University in 1999 and moved to New York in 2000. Since, Burwell has exhibited in New York, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Ireland, Egypt, Canada, South Korea, and many venues across the U.S. He is a 2011 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow (Printmaking/Drawing /Artists Books).