UNE’s Stephen Burt contributes artwork to national juried exhibition in Rhode Island

A green and red drawing of oceans and sea creatures
“Words Fail Us" by Stephen Burt, M.F.A., is now on display at the Bristol Art Museum in Bristol, Rhode Island.

A drawing by Stephen Burt, B.F.A., M.F.A., associate professor of art in the University of New England School of Arts and Humanities, is one of several dozen artists to be featured in the national juried exhibition, “Breadth and Depth: Earth, Water, Air, and Fire,” being held at the Bristol Art Museum now on display through March 24.

“Breadth and Depth” aims to challenge conventional boundaries, inviting artists to create artwork that expresses ideas about the natural world. Burt’s drawing, “Words Fail Us,” was accepted into the Rhode Island museum’s display, which seeks to explore the interplay between the elemental forces of nature and the profound depths of human consciousness. Burt is one of four artists in the show to receive the Brito Family Recognition Award by the museum for work of excellence.

Burt explained the piece was created using improvisatory methods, including layering hues on paper in a random fashion and defining shapes with vine charcoal. He then added ink and gouache paint to define forms, he said.

“This is my methodology, my way to plumb the unknown, to give breadth and depth to the imagination, to challenge myself to think differently about how I communicate,” he remarked.

The artist and educator said that the drawing is a reflection of the challenges we face in a rapidly changing world, such as climate change, and he commented that art provides a course to meaningful action.

“It is clear now that our writing and language have not prepared us for the challenges and crises of our current world,” he said. “The arts — creating images that speak to the current climate chaos — just may help nudge our collective consciousness into action.”

More information can be found at the Bristol Art Museum website. An artist’s reception for the exhibition will be held on Sunday, Feb. 11, from 2 to 4 p.m. The museum is located at ​​10 Wardwell St., Bristol, Rhode Island, and is open from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

Stephen Burt, M.F.A.