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Steve Burdine Artist Statement (50+n)-20=T will be how much longer I have lived than I ever expected to. I believed that Reagen was going to lead the country into a Nuclear Holocaust. Instead it has been a trickle down erosion of freedoms through neoliberal capitalism and the steady march of deregulations that once protected the working class, such as Reagan's attack on the PATCO Strikers and the war on drugs. Existing in a neoliberal capitalist society has always been frustrating in a fundamental way. On one hand, I want to earn a good living and make enough money to not have to worry about basic bills. On the other hand, I do not want to support a system that continues to create monsters. Artists like Keith Morris and Chuck D were making music that critiqued neoliberalism as well as Reagan. Their complex soundscapes influenced my Art. I add visual elements in a way that represents sampling(in Hip-Hop) and hardcore chord structure (or the lack of it) and recognize that my path to abstraction was through doing graffiti in my youth, driven by the push for aesthetic beauty over legibility of the words. These marks I made on the decaying buildings in my city was the first expression of my angst in my art in an abstract way. My current work makes tension with basic shapes and the layering of paint, often with remnants of things in my house. I learned this language from artist Bing Davis. As a mentor he taught me how to use decay in my art by using unconventional items to make art from. The layering of these materials in my work reflects the sedimentation of trash as each subsequent layer of discarded things builds on top of the next. Some elements that extend beyond the ground, or even start to peel, create a feeling of the deterioration. I have some obfuscation of the layered images so the viewer may feel the curiosity or frustration of the almost recognizable. This restriction of access is one I feel when I work hard but yet am still blocked by class or other external systems. Often I will try to constrain the tension with more formal shapes like rectanglesbut, as with life, this constraining often fails. My work can be like seeing a pile of refuse where some parts are recognizable but it never actually resolves to a recognizable whole. The color choices I begin with, primary colors and/or earth tones, are the color palette of the Unions and of labor. When I feel like my work has become too precious, I either stop working on the piece or I do something to it that renders the precious part dead. I want some elements to remain unclear, feeling like a fleeting thought or memory, which is how I often feel--distracted by daily inputs from marketers and social media which amps up my need for self-preservation. The work is a way to filter all of this information barraging me and distill it down into something less disorienting. My conversation with neo liberalism and the frustration I feel is what I aim to express in these works. Leaving the viewer with the feeling of apathy, disgust, disorientation, or darkness while interacting with my work. Overall it is not as important for the viewer to walk away with a working definition of neoliberal capitalism as much as with a sense of the tension and frustration many of us feel because we do not even recognise we are living in neoliberal society.
Danielle Muzina, Sarah Martin, Mike Martin, Todd Herzberg
The pieces included in the show are a series of paintings made with oil, encaustic, acrylic paint with found and recycled elements attached to the canvas or board. The works deal with my internal conversation with neo liberalism and the frustration I feel existing in a capitalist society is what I aim to express in these works.
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Burdine, Steve, "Perceived Obsolescence" (2021). B.F.A. Practicum Exhibition (ART 498). 69.