Calvin Burton was born in 1878 in Roanoke, Virginia, and grew up on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe. He received his B.A. in Visual Art and Mathematics from Brown University in 2001, and his MFA in Painting and Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2006. Burton’s works have been displayed in a number of group and solo exhibitions. He was granted a Virginia Museum Professional Fellowship and he has held teaching positions at VCU, the University of Mary Washington, the University of Virginia, and the College of New Jersey. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Burton’s paintings work through geometry and gestural abstraction through his motifs and mediums. Through his linear structures, Burton plays with light, shadow, ,motion, and waves to spur rhythmic narrative. Instead of deliberately depicting something, Burton’s paintings communicate a narrative through their conceptual presence.
“My work evolves out of a simplified formal language into a series of repetitions, variations, and syncopations, which analogize various cyclical phenomena: weather, tides, tectonic shifts, profits and losses, moods, pulses. At the same time my physical engagement with materials incorporates the presence and scale of the body, further shaping the rhythmic structure. The interaction of these two spheres—the gestural and the geometric—dissolves the primacy of one or the other, while alluding to the dissolution of parallel dichotomies, like body and mind. The paintings are intended to be neither visual/spatial nor physical/flat, but somewhere in the center, where sight meets touch.” – Calvin Burton, 2020