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Christine Burgon
Mundane Existential Girl’s Rock n Roll 1914
June 26 - July 30, 2022

 

Sitting on the shore she lost track of the horizon. Fog swept up from the coast blurring the line between sea and sky.  This was the biggest body of water she ever had access to and she came to look at it this morning alone. For a moment she enjoyed the disorientation. The peculiar feeling of unmediated experience and self awareness crept up her spine until the moment was over and her world became concrete again. A voice in her head told her to move on. The sobriety of the experience was somewhat disappointing but it served as a reminder to dispel expectations. While getting up and steadying herself she noticed that her legs were numb. “How long have I been here?” She wondered. Her brain tickled for a moment, reacting to the lack of stimulation it was used to receiving. Inhaling deeply, she visualized the wanting feeling as a body with no head. She began separating its limbs from its torso in her mind, pulling it apart slowly then gently burying each arm and leg in separate holes. She pictured the holes opening in the ground around her. They swallowed the parts and closed again quietly after she set the pieces down, leaving no trace of movement. Finally, she imagined the torso hovering in front of her, its scale matching her own perfectly. She took one step forward and her body absorbed it as a vapor. Once she could feel it completely disappear she let out her breath. On the walk back to the cabin, she noticed the glow of morning dew covering every surface. The sun was shining through the trees at the perfect angle, clearly highlighting the separation between liquid and object. The freshness of the landscape was slightly startling. She tried not to dwell on the images of forests she had seen before. It felt important to be receiving the information around here without thinking. It was rare that she had an opportunity to feel her eyes functioning properly. She enjoyed the sensation of them swiveling around in their sockets and to have them move over things instead of something moving over them. Her pace quickened a bit. “Smooth brain.” She said aloud.  She turned the words over with her tongue and let the double O’s run off the tip into the air.  She let out a laugh to herself and pursed her lips, excited to be nearly back inside. Walking in the door she glanced around the living room quickly.  No one else was awake yet. She wasn’t avoiding anyone in particular but wasn’t yet ready to begin conversation, enjoying the brief break in life.  Her things were in the corner, two bags. One small backpack with essentials (a notebook, some underwear, a change of shirt) and a cargo sized duffel bag containing a forty inch television.  She had been warned there wouldn’t be one on site. Carefully, she unzipped the duffel bag. Unsheathing the monitor made her smile in a free fall of excitement and anticipation. Her grip on it was steady and knowing. Within a minute the apparatus was plugged in, connected to Wi-Fi and ready for use. She glanced over her shoulder before turning it on and quickly lowering the volume. “Almost there.” She breathed. Kneeling in front of the screen on the floor she scrolled past a few options, her hand trembling.  Settling on something she had already seen but would match the mood of her surroundings perfectly, she clicked play.

Abstract Paintings marketability continually undermines the perception of its current intellectual significance. I hear a lot of groans from artists about so-and-so cashing in, taking a cheap route, or just being bored (and they’re not always wrong). This is usually only tempered if the painting is obliquely critiquing itself, pointing outwards hard enough that you don’t even really need to look at it anymore. Moving past that, what’s left to think about in the act? Christine Burgon is a drop out. Not in the way some of us coolly maneuver our social scenes: maintaining reservations but quietly hoping for a chance to exhibit despite consistent personal existential crisis; overpopulation; and increasingly vapid standards. Years ago she made a decision to stay put and pursue painting for herself, acknowledging her own conversation with a ghost. She would not be showing these works if I hadn’t asked. Without self-mythologizing too much, let's just say it’s a friendly concession at best. It’s funny that in this decadent arena we are often demanded to justify our actions the most. After the decision to participate at all, we are beyond justification. The closed circuitry of these paintings is what I find the most inspiring. I often feel trapped in a constant pursuit of progress and reasoning but these paintings defeat the purpose.  How can you reason with something that exists in and of itself ? That doesn’t need a reason? There’s nothing I can say here to convince you of these works' value because they don’t need you to be convinced. However, they do invite personal associative and phenomenological engagement. Providing a momentary escape from the endless torture of answering questions is a good enough excuse for me. A space to think and feel without a priori logic. A place of totalizing self-involved agency in a time when it’s difficult to feel like we matter. They’re not paintings for us, per se, but they are a place where we don’t matter and cease to exist and that is, after all, utopia. -Ramsey Alderson

 

Christine Burgon (b. 1991, La Crescent, MN) lives and works in Chicago.

This is her first exhibition in Los Angeles. All works are not titled, dated ranging from 2019 to 2022.