TITLE: Monday Muse - Christian Burchard
DATE: 1/17/2005 06:36:00 PM
I have moonlighted in just about every medium at this point: ceramics, photography, video, painting, printmaking, surface design... you name it. What is the one medium that continues to elude me? Wood.
In woodshop I quickly learned that my straight-edges were never quite straight enough. My use of the equipment confused the whole mess. Similarly dismal, my inability to adhere things properly meant glue was always peeking through, nails often made a surprise appearance, and dovetail joints? Well... I just never quite got that far. Wood and I were not friends.
Christian Burchard and wood are one. I am fully convinced he curls up at night, cuddling a log. I imagine he dreams about the insides of trees, slowly shaving off each growth ring at his lathe, one by one, until he reaches the core. Then his dream rewinds and he starts again with another fresh log, peeling away layer after layer, undoing what nature took years to develop.
I also have a fascination with vessels. They serve practical purpose. They also serve spiritual purpose. Even empty, a well-made vessel carries weight. I feel this in Christian Burchard's work. I imagine them filled with feathers, water, rice, dreams and poetry. Paper thin, I can only guess how many failed baskets he has set aside over time, tossing them out and moving forward with the next attempt.
I wonder if someday Christian's pieces will appear in museums for modern art, like they truly deserve to be. The Renwick, the Mint Museum... these are all fine institutions to house his work. I applaud them for wisely acquiring his pieces. But, surely foresight tells us that one day his craft will be recognized as a defining art that brought classical forms, basic materials, and elegant precision back our cultural consciousness?