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Marka Burns

Marka Burns – 4635 E. Anaheim Street

Marka Burns received her BFA in drawing and painting from the Chouinard Art Institute (currently Cal Arts) in Los Angeles in 1968.

After graduation she studied painting, and art history while living in Munich Germany and Oslo, Norway returning to California in 1972. She enrolled in the MFA program at CSULB receiving her degree in 1976.

Beginning in 1981 she taught art, art education and Liberal Studies at CSULB, retiring in 2012 after 32 years of teaching.  For many years she took students on study abroad courses through the university. Earlier in her career she curated exhibits at Barnsdall Park, L.A, The George Eastman House in New York, Long Beach City College, and the University of California Riverside. In 2012 she curated an exhibit at the Center Gallery at the LBGTQ Center. In 2014 she was featured at The Playhouse Gallery. (see reviews below)

For many years Burns was represented by GLDC arts in Los Angeles. Her work is in a number of corporate as well as private collections.

Her working process usually begins with a consuming interest in a subject, for example, the work she did for “Allegory of Spirit in Nature” was inspired by the traditions of Chinese art, Buddhism and nature. Particularly, she is drawn to the idea of trying to “capture the fragile, ephemeral and elusive qualities of making thought and spirit visible through art.

Most recently she has been working with female images inspired by the world of high fashion, and the concept that we often can’t distinguish reality from illusion, a theme I find myself returning to. She is fascinated by what can be done with digital media and was surprised at how it was a natural transition for her. Somewhat simultaneously she revived her interest in landscape painting and found that working digitally was a way of creating unusual compositions that would not be possible any other way.

Excerpts from the LB Post and Grunion Gazette Newspapers

Long Beach Post Nov. 15, 2014

Marka Burns exhibit at the Long Beach Playhouse features 50 new artworks. There are three different aspects of her paintings in the exhibit: Allegory of Spirit in Nature, Ancient Manuscripts, and Portals.

All of Burns’s paintings include depth and vivid colors that transports the viewer into a nature-filled setting much like an exotic country like Thailand or Singapore, complete with surrealist touches and details. The complexity of each painting varies on the lighting of the room and the way the paintings are grouped together, guaranteeing a new perspective during each new look.

“I just envision the idea and gather the materials,” Burns said. “Eventually some kind of muse intervenes and it all comes together, but it is always a surprise to me in the end.”

Review of Allegory of Spirit in Nature Long Beach Playhouse Gallery

Posted: Sunday, November 2, 2014 1:30 am

By Elizabeth Thomas, Arts Writer

Marka Burns is lavish. Her new exhibit at the Long Beach Playhouse Gallery, Allegories of Spirit in Nature, also includes work encompassing two other series, Ancient Manuscripts and Portals. It’s an intense experience.

Her work is flamboyant, rich in color, and wild. Every inch of canvas is covered — in fact, if you were to drill, the media might go another two inches into the wall.

Nearly everything includes an iconic image taken from something printed, and then surrounded and applied with layers of collaged materials and paint.

“I collect images in a variety of ways depending on the meaning and intention of the work,” Burns elaborated. “I often work with transparencies, photographs, old books, cameras and a printer to create unexpected combinations in my artwork.

“It is hard to convey in words what I do in a visual way. I can say that I work in ways that are mostly intuitive after planning what the overall theme will be.

“Sometimes I am rewarded with what seems to be a mysterious intervention that some might call the ‘flow state.’ It is fascinating to see how the ephemeral ideas connect to the image, allowing me to preserve fragile moments of insight.

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