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2024 Ohio Artist Registry Juried Exhibition

Denise Burge

Professor of Art University of CincinnatiFine Arts
Home 1409 BERCLIFF AVENUE 1st County: Hamilton
CINCINNATI OH 45223 United States
Home Phone: 15132950676 Birthday: January 12, 2023 Website: Denise Burge’s website Website: Burge collaboration- Maidens of the Cosmic Body Running Website: Burge Collaboration- Historic Graphic Novel



Denise Burge received her MFA in Painting from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1991, and since has taught at the New York State College of Ceramics and the University of Cincinnati, where she is a Professor of Art.  She teaches courses that range from seminars on film theory to fiber art and animation.  In 2004 she was awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award for Visual Art. She has received multiple Ohio Arts Council Awards for Individual Artists and has been awarded competitive, funded residencies at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito California, and the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans.  Recently Burge combines solo work in the quilt and paint media with collaborative work in video and installation.  In 2022, her collaborative group Maidens of the Cosmic Body Running conducted a funded year-long residency at Cincinnati’s Summit Hotel as a part of the FotoFocus Biennial. A short film from that residency entitled Better Close Than Never will hae its world premiere at the Fotogenia Festival of FilmPoetry in Mexico City in November of 2023.  Burge has an upcoming residency at The Studios of Key West in May of 2024, as well as continuing solo and group exhibitions. She is also currently working on a collaborative graphic novel about the 19th century journalist Lafcadio Hearn, and completed a funded research trip to Japan to collect materials about the subject.

Artist Statement

My work addresses how our ideas about certain places represent a sort of cultural fantasy, a romantic collage of impressions and desires which ossify into a psychological ‘space’ that in fact is no place at all.  Currently I am most interested in the element of the tropical as a representation of leisure, fecundity, nascent life and mortality.  

Every summer of my youth was highlighted by a trip to the South Carolina coast. The profuse tropical plants, the tawdry neon ‘party-down’ boardwalk promenades, and the mysterious waters themselves struck me as otherworldly and sensual.  Idealistic vernacular representation of these places abounded (on t-shirts, billboards, etc) as functions of our desire for idyllic leisure and exotic glamour, even though we were right in the middle of the spaces depicted.

My work in the fabric medium relates to the theatrical nature of the painted quilt.  Until close inspection, the work often looks like it was painted—but much of it is pieced and embroidered.  I also love the slowness of embroidery, which for me, evokes the narcotic effect that I want the work to contain. My works on paper are often sketches or ‘rehearsals’ of approaches to the quilts.  Both employ a mixture of ‘high and low art’ surfaces and styles, referencing vernacular urban coastal culture.  The environments in these images represent my attempt to create a hybrid paradise that embraces both worlds:  the air-brushed fantasy and the corporeal reality of our own oceanic bodies.

In addition to this body of work I continue to participate in two other collaborative projects:  a multi-media video-centric group called the Maidens of the Cosmic Body Running, and a graphic novel-in-progress about the 19th century journalist Lafcadio Hearn.  Though these are different projects materially, they all engage with similar content- fascination with nature as a romantic and nostalgic symbol, a reflection of our layered cultural relationship with the world in which we live. 



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