RICK BURNS & THE NSA
Artist & politico Rick Burns effortlessly crosses cultural and political barriers through his creative work. He can edit his complex thoughts, words and burdens into simple shapes and forms instinctually, allowing the big picture to shine through.
Burns is a well spoken carpenter, family man and a true political independent from Berwick, Maine. His biggest and loudest voice still remains his creation of visual messaging.
Symbolism, shape and form are his effective communication tools, along with a very relavent message worth listening to.
"Communication is key to being liberated and empowered"
Burns' sculpture "21st Century Sisyphus" tells an age old story of a man who is punished for wanting nothing more than to be fairly compensated for his labor to provide for his family and community. The emaciated figure is holding the cog above his head as a symbol of what's left of industrial opportunity.
The materials used to build the work are also an apt use of upcoming relics from the end of an industrial age. The cast iron shoe forms that Sisyphus stands on are the very tools that a cobbler once used to craft work shoes.
"The Emaciated Farmer"
(shown right) is a familiar sculpture for Berwick residents after sitting on the front lawn of the Burns home soon after the closing of Prime Tanning, the major industry in town. The inherent irony in an obviously hungry and tired man laboring away to prepare for food production provides a historical summary of what the people of the town have gone through with the loss of the large factory employer.
Ricks most recent works, which he affectionately calls 'Industrial Symbolic Abstractions' pay tribute to the demise of industry and agriculture in America.
Rick speaks well about everything from labor and farming, community solutions and world affairs, offering new hope for a future that comes from the heart, rather than the singular rooted commerce driven society with leadership drawing outsiders into communities to create commerce for themselves rather than pooling the talent and labor that already exists next door.
Burns lets us in this thought-provoking world of wonder and creativity and makes us think harder than we would on any given weekday full of distractions and labor.
As an artist and thinker, Burns plays well the constant delicate mental balancing act between past and future and reflection vs. sober reality ....and everything becomes a simple beacon of true unusual beauty after he gets his hands and mind on it.
A refreshingly simple message for complicated times.
Rick Burns is currently a candidate for State Senate, District 34 in Southern Maine www.rickburns.org
"NSA" (detail shown left) features a large floating stone metaphor of both earth and a return to the stone age, and Rick giggles to himself while telling that NSA stands for
"No Security Anywhere."
Each piece is meticulously placed for balance and message and hand picked representations that pass the thought on subtly, but effectively, to the acute observer.
You can walk away from this piece, not worrying about the NSA's intrusive behavior, but with a new found respect for actively listening to the greater whole of being human, and the plight of those that have to fight harder for comfort.
you can find Rick Burns at www.rickburnssculpture.com
written by: Erin Duquette