Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sneak Peek: Karen Lynne Burmeister's Life of Beauty at the Duluth Art Institute

Two very special exhibitions are slated to open in September this year.  A mid-career retrospective titled Spirit features work by Karen Savage Blue in the George Morrison Gallery. The John Steffl Gallery will play host to Karen Lynne Burmeister's Life of Beauty.

Burmeister was a much loved arts educator who taught at the Marshall School for twenty years. After ten months of growing concern that she might have some kind of physical problem she sought medical help in identifying it. The diagnosis of cancer confirmed her fears and after a painful eight month battle she was suddenly gone.

It turns out that Karen left behind a large volume of exquisite collage pieces that were quite striking. The stages of her struggle are reflected in the work itself. After her passing in 2013 her husband Loren Martell took it upon himself to have the works scanned that they might be preserved and ultimately shared. 

The opening reception for both shows will be held September 10, from 5-7 p.m. at the Depot. 

Of Karen Burmeister, Loren Martell writes:
Karen had a bright, facile mind. She was one of those rare people who move with equal dexterity through the left and right realms of mental cognition. As a University of Wisconsin--Eau Claire--student, she was a star in the Physics Department. She could grasp numbers and equations very quickly, yet simultaneously possessed an astute sense of language. She loved words and was fascinated by etymologies. In thirty years, I seldom found a word she couldn’t define. I never found one she couldn’t spell. Pursuit of learning and culture was the passion of Karen’s life. She spent little time splashing around on the surface. She was forever searching for beautiful pearls way down deep. Visual art was the treasure that truly moved her. During our first years in Duluth, she augmented her teaching position in a Montessori school by privately tutoring art. Eventually she joined the faculty at Marshall School, where she taught art for nearly twenty years.

Karen saw art as the tangible embodiment of what was best--the most valuable, the most sublime--in the human experience. Gifted with extraordinary artistic sensibility, she was a fine artist in her own rite.  

Here are some additional pieces she created, with more to be shared here soon. The best way to see the work will be to attend the exhibition itself in September. 

The brilliance of the compositions becomes especially striking in contrast to the field of black that serves as both background and placeholder for the compositions. 

Special thanks to Tigg at CPL Imaging who took time to reduce the image sizes for faster download here.

More to come!


Cheryl said...

Thank you for sharing these. They are wonderful

Ed Newman said...

And in September you'll be able to see them in person. Thanks for the note.

Phil said...

Coping with the tragic loss of Ms. Burmeister, even more than two years after, is easier having seen these images and read her husband's words. I look forward very much to seeing these works in person, to studying their detail and their thematic content, and to remembering again how much the artist contributed to my own life in the years I knew her.