Sigrid Burton American, b. 1951


Sigrid Burton is an American painter who lives and works in Pasadena, California.


The ineffable aspects of the sublime and the transcendental power of painting are the foundation of Sigrid Burton’s practice. Burton believes painting concerns an interactive visual colloquy, providing a view to an interior dialogue and an immersive experience beyond the quotidian, much like a symphony engages the ear. The artist embeds gestural abstractions of organic forms in chromatic atmospheric grounds, reflecting on ideas of space and depth, employing idiosyncratic mark making and the resonant use of color.  

The daily experience of color, light and atmospheric phenomena is ephemeral. Burton’s intention is to make light and depth tangible and visible on a 2-dimensional picture plane, capturing the phenomenological occurrence of reflection and refraction of light. In particular, in water, sky and deep space, not in a literal sense, but drawing from the history of these concerns in works by artists such as Turner, Monet, Rothko. Color creates this atmosphere and elicits not only an emotional, but also a physiological response. In addition, since 1990, Burton has been engaged in an investigation of Indian art forms and aesthetic theory, including academic scholarship and extensive travel in the subcontinent. India has an ancient and sophisticated aesthetic theory which holds, broadly stated, that the importance of a work of art is the response that the work evokes from the viewer. Within this context, color is understood to have great expressive and communicative power. For the artist, color is sui generis; it communicates in its own unique language. 


Burton’s drawing and mark marking derive from the natural world, and refer to botanical and biological anatomies, including marine life, as well as, the structures of both macro and micro cosmologies, constellation diagrams, and alphabetic systems. The specific content is intended to be ambiguous, yet evocative, referencing light and spatial phenomena, a common language of forms, and a shared cross-cultural use of symbols. 


The Carnegie Observatories based near the artist’s home and studio in Pasadena has had a particular impact on her work. Burton has attended lectures on developments in astronomy and astrophysics and visited observatories, including Las Campanas in Chile. These opportunities, including, her exposure to the extraordinary visual imagery currently being generated from observations in deep space, have allowed Burton to expand her thinking about the exciting interrelations of micro and macrocosmic configurations - the unifying structures and forms of the world around us and beyond.