Leland Burke


Thought Pattern, Oil on canvas, 18 x 24”



Untitled, Oil on canvas, 10 x 8”



Seascape, Oil on canvas, 30”x36”



Mountain, Oil on canvas, 18 x 24”



Chrysalis, Oil on canvas, 30 x 27”


Artist Statement


The three pieces I chose for the Senior Show function together as an introspective narrative that spans several years.

Mountain is representative of my earlier paintings, in which the subject is isolated and centered, often closed off or protected in posture. The composition of Mountain is balanced and still, glazed with cooler colors that create a sense of tranquility and quiet. A hazy and stylized mountain range frames the background, suggesting distance without pulling focus away from the figure’s nuanced expression. The flat, reflective surface of the water is unmarred by ripples, mirroring the subject as she remains completely still in quiet contemplation. Her calm expression gives no indication of the thoughts beneath the surface.

Untitled 10”x8” is unofficially titled Inner Room because the dimensions of the canvas in inches correlate with the dimensions in feet of the room in which I have spent the majority of this past year. This painting marks a transition in my work from presenting an impenetrable and stagnant exterior to providing a window into the dynamic mind. The “figure” is comprised of an introspective eye that is cradled and elevated by a pair of hands. These hands provide support and grounding to the figure, its “feet” resting securely on the “floor” plane. Semi-transparent lines reference an interior space that appears to grow exponentially more vast as it expands back into space. A ribbon of movement pulls the eye in a meandering pattern through the piece from foreground to background, much as the mind wanders when it lacks environmental stimulation. The eye of the figure stares back at the viewer, begrudgingly granting access to the world that lies within.

Thought Pattern expands more freely upon the inner world, breaking free of physical grounding. The “introspective eye” in this piece is untethered to a figure or flat plane. The repetition created by the waves, masks, and perspective lines mimics pervasive thoughts that form and are re-focused constantly by self-discipline. The perspective lines are transparent yet piercing beams of light that form a triangle around the eye, a shape reminiscent of the “all-seeing eye” that alludes to the eye of God as well as the all-seeing nature of introspection. Transparency in the masks and other elements echoes traces of thoughts as they form and are abandoned. Solid grey hands reference the physical that has dissociated from the mental, dense and colorless like carved stone.

Throughout this series, there is an increase in “transparency” that penetrates the physical form and moves through the mind. This transparency and deviation from my initial focus on the figure’s exterior grants others access to the contents and structure of my thoughts, opening my mind to both vulnerability and opportunity.