Karl and Helen Burger Gallery
April 24 - July 19, 2012
Reception: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 from 4:00 - 6:00 pm.

(Russ Hosp House, 2010, Drawing, 40” x 33”)

Created over a period of more than five decades, a comprehensive exhibition of drawings by W. Carl Burger will be featured at Kean University’s Karl and Helen Burger Gallery. The show entitled, W. Carl Burger, Drawing for Fifty Years, runs from April 24, through July 19, 2012. A reception with the artist will be held on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

This exhibition examines the artist’s prolific career; starting out with a few early renderings of French landscapes and European architecture seen through the eyes of a young artist-soldier in the 1940s, then advancing through each subsequent stage of development to the present. Neil Tetkowski, the Gallery Director says:

Carl Burger moves with deliberate energy and creativity. At 86, the artist radiates with inspired affection and enthusiasm. He lives with a youthful urgency to make art, and remarkably, his next artwork always promises to be his best. Unlike much of his well-known oeuvre, the drawings use color sparingly, or for that matter, not at all. They do not depend on color. Although few are aware of this, for Burger, it is not an entirely new way of working. The exhibition shows that the artist has been thinking monochromatically for many years. As the artist progressively uses inks and mixed media layered on top of graphite, it is hard to determine when his drawing becomes a painting.

Always exquisitely rendered, Burger’s drawings lead the viewer into a world of surprise and complex surrealistic composition. Burger is clearly a virtuoso draftsman, an expert of collage and finally an expressionist master of extravagant color. Many critics have likened Burger’s work to Charles Burchfield. While he is probably best known for large-scale water colors representing the imagined and real landscapes of New Jersey, this exhibition spotlights his drawings, the source and essence of his more spontaneous work. Steven H. Miller, former Executive Director of The Morris Museum, says, “The fact that he also excels in graphite and other fine and delicate mediums should probably come as no surprise”.

Fifty Years of Drawing showcases W. Carl Burger’s lesser-known—but just as spectacular—monochromatic works. What pervades through Burger’s work is a seemingly never-ending supply of youthful exuberance and spontaneity. Upon seeing the world through the eyes of W. Carl Burger, one cannot help but share in his sense of wonderment and joy. The viewer walks away from the work of W. Carl Burger with a renewed appreciation and perception of both the natural and constructed landscape. By successfully bridging the very different styles of abstract expressionism and realism, W. Carl Burger always speaks in a distinct artistic voice about his subject matter. Dr. Louis A. Zona, Director of The Butler Institute of American Art, says, “Burger’s narrative work incorporates the kind of rapid application of paint that became the life forces of the work of Pollock, Kline and DeKooning”.

With an artistic career spanning more than five decades, the esteemed W. Carl Burger has received much well deserved recognition. His work has been shown at prestigious institutions such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton, the National Academy of Design and Lincoln Center in New York City. Burger’s work is held in many corporate collections, including British Airways, Warner Communications, AT&T, Johnson & Johnson, Nabisco World Headquarters, Schering-Plough, and Ortho Pharmaceutical. The Butler Institute of Art, the Noyes Museum, and the Morris Museum, have all done comprehensive solo exhibitions of W. Carl Burger’s artwork.