This series of paintings is rooted in a distinctly American cultural tradition, harnessing the vernacular of seduction and persuasion prevalent in branding, advertising, and popular culture. The visual cues of artifice and ornamentation are metaphors for the human propensity to cover, repress, and ignore difficult emotions.

Critical of the duplicity we both create for ourselves, and absorb from the powers-that-be of Capitalist ideology, these works simulate the way our cultural belief systems inform our desperate struggle to mask chaotic tensions just beneath the surface. These works appropriate the ubiquity of false realities, blurring truth and fiction through the representation of symbols as decorative veils. These thin façades become crucial foundations of our contemporary existence, as we cling to utopian representations in a world filled with uncertainty.

In an unpredictable political climate, with expert forecasts of a drastically-near end for humankind on earth, this series attempts to distill powerful sentiments that are difficult to capture through written language. Through color and form, these works place these delicate constructions and mythologies of romantic idealization at the forefront of our awareness.

I believe that the power of painting lies in its ability to translate the true depths of the nature of our humanity. These paintings identify the discrepancies between our intentions and actions in a culture fed by fantasy, and the pursuit of future pleasure at all costs, despite imminent warning signs. It is the very nature of our flaws and will to survive that blind us to our downfall—yet give us the ability to see the beauty in almost anything.

Emily Burns (b. Warrenton, VA) is an artist, designer, and curator. She holds a BFA in Drawing and Painting and an MFA in Graphic Design from The Pennsylvania State University. She recently curated Linger Still, a solo show of work by Kaveri Raina at Assembly Room in New York City, and group exhibitions Deal With It at Woskob Family Gallery in central PA, Kitsch at studio e gallery, and Take 2 at The Alice in Seattle. She is curating upcoming exhibitions at Unpaved Gallery in Yucca Valley, CA, Left Field Gallery in Los Osos, CA, and Trestle Gallery in Brooklyn. She is the founding editor and curator of the contemporary art publication Maake Magazine, an independent print publication featuring the work of contemporary artists and artist-run projects. She is also the founder and director of Maake Projects, a new exhibition space in central PA. As an artist, her work has been exhibited both internationally and throughout the United States, including solo shows at Adventureland Gallery (Chicago), three-person exhibition at 111 Minna Gallery (San Francisco), and group exhibitions at The Lodge Gallery and John Molloy Gallery (New York City), Transmitter, Trestle Gallery, and Tiger Strikes Asteroid (Brooklyn) 24-Hour Charlie’s (Los Angeles), and Galleri Urbane (Dallas). Her work has been featured in media such as Beautiful Decay, Hi-Fructose, and Juxtapoz. She has attended residencies at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA and Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT. She has been invited as a visiting curator at BRIC Brooklyn, and the NARS Foundation, in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently an Assistant Professor at The Pennsylvania State University.

All images on this website copyright Emily Burns. All Rights Reserved.