When viewing the works of artist Christopher Burk from a certain distance the first time, you may ponder if it’s paint or photography on display.
The answer is oil or gouache paint the Columbus-based artist has used to capture urban scenes from his city — designed to make viewers see things they pass by without notice in a new way.
“Christopher Burk: Illuminating the Everyday” opened in the Springfield Museum of Art’s Deer Gallery with about 39 paintings from two series created in the past two years and on display during regular museum hours through July 1.
Museum curator Erin Shapiro said the collection is designed to make visitors not just look, but think about the art.
“He’s asking the viewer to imagine they are in the scene or to create their own narrative,” she said.
You could even say the two series are different as night and day. But they are connected.
The 2016 “Connected” series of daylight scenes uses oil paints creating houses or buildings with numerous telephone poles, lines, cables and wires around them.
Shapiro said these most reflect the photorealism style that was big in the 1960s in which the artist intentionally mimics a photo.
The newest series, “Stillness: Nocturnes,” is done in gouache, similar to watercolor but with more depth of color. These depict the urban environment at nighttime and several include the wires prominent in the other series.
Viewers will notice a lack of figures in the works. This adds an air of mystery and allows them to make their own interpretations.
There are several versions of trash dumpsters in the nocturne series, not items we’d likely notice or want to go near if we didn’t need to. Shapiro suggests it draws attention to those things we pass by, but that art can make us see in a different way.
Many of the buildings and houses even look like ones you could see in Springfield.
Shapiro said Burk is making a name for himself in the state and this is a good time to see a rising artist’s work.
The museum also recently invited nine artist members to create their own pieces in response to the “Art 360: Contemporary Art Hatching Across Ohio” exhibit in the McGregor Gallery, which uses ostrich eggs as a starting point for a variety of artistic creations.
Ceramics, paintings, found objects and sculptures are among them, some sticking close to the subject, others humorous or just plain out there in the Chakeres Interactive Gallery.
“We’re always interested in promoting our member artists. They have so much talent,” Shapiro said.
There is also an area where visitors can create their own egg art and even a nest-building station.
“Our goal is to engage people of all ages as to how artists create things,” Shapiro said. “Kids especially have questions on how things are put together.
“There is a lot of interest and great from a programming standpoint for all age groups to appreciate.”
These will be available through March 24.
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