Keith Burt

Keith Burt gives everyday objects a stark presence in his still life paintings, and his portraits possess an uncanny sense of the subject, 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.”

Burt moved to Brisbane from Melbourne in 2008, and painting helped him come to terms with a new home and landscape. To the ring of hills that surrounds the city, he adds cumulus 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. In 2020, Burt won the Brisbane Portrait Prize with a portrait of Matthew and Daniel Tobin (founders of Urban Art Projects). He has been a four time Archibald finalist since 2017, has featured in Still Life (a Thames and Hudson publication 2021, a finalist in The Churchie National Emerging Art Exhibition (2010, 2011) and the Clayton Utz Art Prize (2013). He has completed commissions for Brisbane Grammar School, the Mater Hospital, Brisbane, Churchie Grammar School and Spicers Potts Point.

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