Matthew Robert Burns
Artist Information and Statement
Matthew Robert Burns,
Over the last two years, I lost my grandmother and most recently my grandfather. Those two were a big part of my life and they have been the most recent source of introspection and finally, inspiration for my artwork. They are the subject for my newest project.
The artwork in this BFA exhibit is a study of a central figure, Bob, and his wife Terry at the end of their lives. It follows Bob, who is retired and able to share and enjoy leisure and his favorite activities with his loving wife Terry, his children and grandchildren. The narrative I’ve created begins with a happy time in life with good health and time for vacations, family celebrations, and new experiences. With the passing of his wife, Bob’s life follows a slow, lonely downward spiral. The images I’ve created show the widower in decline and his ultimate end. I have tried to make Bob’s decline the story of a person’s final years as many people have experienced it. And I hope my narrative also expresses the difficulty in family life as sons and daughters and their children try to ease a grandfather’s final year.
The project is titled “Mortality” as it portrays the human condition of aging and death that I witnessed. It is with inspiration from my memories of my grandfather that I was able to narrate his life to the end of his time with us.
For my next project, post graduation, I plan to illustrate a popular urban legend from each state in the union. I will combine my illustrations with a short description of each of the strange and sometimes humorous legends of the USA. With so much constant news of red states versus blue states, this will be a more entertaining and generous way to enjoy the USA as one loony and funny country.