Philip Koch blogs about his first visit to the Burchfield Penney as Artist-in-Residence!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Several months ago Scott Propeack, the Associate Director and Chief Curator of the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo, New York invited me to be the second Artist in Residence at the Art Center for the next year. I'm just returned from the first of what will be a half dozen visits to the museum between now and summer of 2016.

In my opinion, Charles Burchfield is one of the best painters of the 20th century. Burchfield has been one of the main influences on my own paintings of the natural world. I'm honored to be given this opportunity by the Burchfield Penney Art Center.

As an artist I've a keen awareness that none of us is alone in our studios- rather through our work we're engaging in a conversation with key artists who have gone before us. Painting after all is a language. By studying those who spoke it exceptionally well, I know I can learn to tell my own story better. Burchfield's work is different in many ways from mine, yet I feel strongly the two of us are chewing on the same bone.
BPAC is something of a unique museum. In addition to having by far the largest collection of artwork by the internationally known watercolorist Burchfield, it also has a mission of exhibiting, documenting, and collecting the art of Western New York State.

I was born and grew up in nearby Rochester where my parents had build a home right on the shore of Lake Ontario. That chapter of my life, spent in the hilly and heavily forested lake shore left an indelible impact on my imagination. I didn't take up art until I left for college in Ohio. Ironically until starting the Burchfield Residency last week I'd never painted from the landscape that had made such a big impression on me as a youth.

In addition to painting on location in some of the same parts of the landscape where Burchfield worked, I'll be studying some of the thousands of examples of Burchfield's work in the museum's Permanent Collection and in its exhibitions (like the delightful current show, A Resounding Roar, that traces the influence of sound on Burchfield's painting, organized by BPAC's Curator and Manager of Archives, Tullis Johnson).


Read Philip's first post at Philip's blog