Keith Burt

Keith Burt’s landscapes evoke a darkening mood, objects from his every day have a stark presence as still life, and his portraits possess the uncanny sense of friends and family, driven by interrogation of the face. He said, “I build form by studying faces. In a portrait you are looking for something intangible. When it is successful it is hard to explain why. It is magical when you feel the weight of the person in a layer of painting chemicals.” At times genres merge, with landscapes including partially rendered figures, the lower half of a body grounded in the land mass while its head and torso evaporates into the sky.

Burt moved to Brisbane from Melbourne in 2010, and painting helped him come to terms with a new home and landscape. To the ring of hills that surrounds the city, he adds cumulous clouds as the dominant feature – struck by the setting sun as shadows encroach on the sky. His process is singular and oil paint is applied “as it is, without turps or oil. If I get it right a painting is constructed with every brushstroke. That is when I feel happiest. I don’t layer much.”

Since 2010 Burt has had solo exhibitions every year in Brisbane and, in 2017, also in Melbourne. He is a repeat finalist in the Archibald Prize (2017, 2019), a finalist in the Brisbane Portrait Prize (2019), The Churchie National Emerging Art Exhibition (2010, 2011) and the Clayton Utz Art Prize (2013). He has completed commissions for the Mater Hospital, Brisbane, Churchie Grammar School and Spicers Potts Point.

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