Gerard M Burns is a contemporary Scottish artist who is not afraid to express himself through the traditional themes treated in the mainstream of European art from the Renaissance to modern times.
As he himself put it in a recent interview : “I am attempting to reclaim a more traditional approach to painting, content, subject matter and technique, but within the context of modern society.”
The phrase in italics is important : his treatment of traditional themes is wholly personal, since he embeds them in the raw present, synthesising past with present in such a way that contemporary experience is enhanced and invested with new meaning by the subtlety of allusive reference. Thus his paintings are not arid exercises in retrospective homage to past masters, or mere nostalgia for figurative art, but innovative re-examinations of the European tradition, which serve as stimuli for the individual viewer’s own emotional exploration.
Moreover, he is a painter who has not lost his sense of wonder, who revels in beauty of form and colour, and works with a bold palette which is instantly arresting. This arresting quality in his work not only draws you into the visual scene before you, but makes you want to know his meaning. As he himself says : “I want the paintings to catch the imagination, to challenge and amaze people.”