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Erin Elyse Burns

Obliterate the Subject

Through video, sound and photography, Obliterate the Subject moves us toward the dissolution of self.

Erin Elyse Burns. Knot I, 2022. Archival pigment print. 19 x 13 inches
  • January 5 - 26, 2023
  • Opening: Thursday, January 5, 6:00 — 8:00pm

We build knots and hold tension in our minds. Practice is required to release, unwind, and let go. We wrap our bodies, in both life and in death, to reveal and to conceal.

Obliterate the Subject is an exhibition that began, was incubated, and then produced against the backdrop of species-level trauma. Delayed momentum, fits and starts, bursts of energy, and interstitial stasis – the work included is emblematic of these feelings of pandemic purgatory. Each piece is an iterative exploration of seduction, abstraction, and performative gesture.

For Erin Elyse Burns, what is left out of the frame is as important as what is contained within. Centering material malleability, the show images deep-seated grief, loss, and internal struggles with selfhood.

A soliloquy on the hue, the pigment, the value of black:

To dye, to die.

Black as the arena of the mind. Black as expansive, as void that is full and rich. The absence of visible light, achromia. One of the first pigments used by artists through the vehicle of charcoal. Silhouette, shadow, the underworld. The etiquette of grief, of mourning practices. Paint it black. Dip to black. What Color is the Sacred? My gut response: black.

This exhibition has been generously supported by a 4Culture Arts Project Grant.

About the Artist

Erin Elyse Burns has exhibited her work in exhibitions at Sarah Spurgeon Gallery at Central Washington University, Lilla Galleriet in Gerlesborg Sweden, Border Patrol Gallery in Portland, Maine and the Tucson Museum of Art, among other venues. Recent solo exhibitions have been presented at SOIL Art Gallery and Jack Straw Cultural Center’s New Media Gallery in Seattle. She has attended residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and the Westfjords Residency in Iceland and is a recipient of grants from 4Culture and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. Burns holds an MFA in Photomedia from the University of Washington and a BFA in Interdisciplinary Visual Art from the University of Nevada. She currently resides in Seattle, WA, where she is a member of the contemporary art collective SOIL and is an Associate Professor in the Art Department at Cornish College of the Arts.