Anthony Burnham has developed a primarily image-based practice through which he explores the inherent possibilities of painting from a conceptual point of view. He is part of a long line of artists who, like Francine Savard, Guy Pellerin, and Pierre Dorion, question the very nature of pictorial representation while pushing the limits of the medium. Through a diverse and stylized, yet minimalist vocabulary, which includes hyperrealism and trompe-l’œil, Burnham’s paintings represent objects whose relationship to reality is complicated through the multiple reproduction techniques (photography, photocopying and digital printing) used in their making. In some cases, he uses illustrations of his own sculptures drawn from photographs taken in the location where they were created (the studio) or where they were presented (the gallery). The results are compelling and mysterious material configurations that convey the object’s presence, its various states, the stages of its creation, and an attachment to the very notion of the studio and its historical context. Burnham’s most recent production is characterized by slippage, manipulation, moulding and fluidity, as it attempts to define and shape uncontainable matter, such as smoke.

Maquette of Wall and Floor, 2008, Oil on canvas.
© Anthony Burnham • Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay