Artist’s reception coincides with First Thursday Art Walk, 2/7

IMG_2382When last seen, artist Christian Burchard was surrounded by gorgeous flowers. At least his work was.

Pieces fashioned by this master wood turner and sculptor made the perfect complement to a show featuring images of flowers interpreted by Mark English, Karen Kokjer and Robert Weatherford and featured at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art in July: woodworks among the florals.

This month Christian returns for an encore. But this time his work is the main event at the Gallery. The opening, which includes a reception for the artist, coincides with Telluride Arts’ First Thursday Art Walk, Thursday, February 7, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

For the record, Art Walk is a walkabout town that allows multiple venues, including galleries, studios, the library, even restaurants to showcase the artwork, local, regional and national artists working in different mediums. Venues tend to stay open late until 8 p.m.

The Telluride Gallery of Fine Art has an historic relationship with the Ah Haa School for the Arts. On Friday, February 8, Christian plans to talk about his work at  the school. The lecture and reception take place at 5:30 p.m.

“We’re looking forward to rekindling the relationship we established with the Telluride Gallery years ago, when we would regularly collaborate on events and have gallery artists teach Ah Haa classes,” said Jessica Newens, curriculum director. “Hopefully Christian’s talk will be the first of several Telluride Gallery artist talks we host in the coming year.”

Christian Burchard has never met a piece of wood he did not like – though he favors Pacific Madrone which he works with exclusively to create in his whimsical pieces.

“I have been working with wood for most of my life. We are comfortable with each other and I value the connection immensely. I am curious  about what is inside, how it works. I am always looking for the gifts wood has to offer. At times I am awed by its beauty and its history, the tracks that the passing of time have left. I am driven to expose that beauty, to make it shine through. At other times I am more fascinated with its inner structure, its more subtle form and spirit,” explained the artist.

IMG_2406Born in Hamburg, Germany in 1955, Christian has been living in the United States since 1978. He started out his professional life as a furniture maker’s apprenticeship in Germany in the mid-1970s, before studying sculpture and drawing at the Museum School in Boston and the Emily Carr College of Art and Design in Vancouver, BC.

In 1982, Christian opened his studio, which today is the architectural equivalent of Romney’s dog strapped to the roof of his car –  seems out of place, but the wooden structures that make up the complex just thumb their noses at the trophy homes that now surround them.

In the beginning, Burchard’s focus was on furniture and interiors. He gradually shifted to woodturning and sculpture and now moves between vessel-oriented forms and sculptural turning. His work has been included in most of the major turning related exhibits of the last 20+ years and is exhibited and collected widely throughout the U. S., most recently at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art.

Since we last visited Christian (see Related Posts for a story of our visit to his studio and video of the site), his work continues to sell well, particularly his books and baskets. The ducks we met as babies in his bathtub have grown and are laying eggs – or did till it got cold, per Christian, adding “the goats have been dried up  and are just getting bred again, so no cheese these days.”

And now this Renaissance man reports he has added fiddling to his list of vocations and avocations, which in addition to his day job of sculpting, includes making goat cheese and Tuvan throat singing.

The show at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art features variations on the theme of Christian’s signature books, wall sculptures, baskets, torsos, and serrated arching shapes.

To learn more, click the “play” button and listen to my conversation with the artist.

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