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VIZ CITY BLOG: Audio, photos, transcripts & more by Terry Way and Sandy Brown Jensen.Airs every other Wednesday during Morning Edition and Here & Now.

Claire Burbridge at JSMA: Pathways to the Invisible

Artist Claire Burbridge just opened at JSMA with a show called "Pathways to the Invisible."
Portraits of the Artist by Sandy Brown Jensen

Welcome to Viz City, KLCC’s Arts review program. Today, Viz City has found its way onto the University of Oregon campus to visit the new exhibition at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art: “Claire Burbridge: Pathways to the Invisible.” Claire is originally from England, but she to Ashland, Oregon in 2010. 

"...then I realized when you change cultures and move 6000 miles away, your work is going to change a lot. So I spent a year working out what I was going to do next. I went back to the basics, my basic love, which is drawing with pen and ink or pencils, and I spent a year walking around in the beautiful mountains and forests of Southern Oregon and started to collect lots of objects; things like birds nests, lichens, mosses, and I took hundreds and hundreds of photographs and brought them back to the studio and started drawing from those, so my practice is of and around inspiration of nature."


Claire Burbridge, "Mycelium"
Credit Sandy Brown Jensen Gallery photo by permission of the artist
Claire Burbridge, "Mycelium"

When you visit “Pathways to the Invisible,” you will immediately be amazed at the size of Claire’s drawings--many are eight feet by four feet--and they are intensely detailed. What’s the story behind the decision to go so large?

"The story behind that is I got really fed up with too much proliferation of work, and I just wanted each piece to be a whole universe in its own right, and I wanted it to be the best that I could possibly do and contain everything, and in order to achieve that, it had to be large."

A unique feature of the exhibition is Claire’s remarkable hand-made wallpaper with her nests and lichens pinned to it.


"The inspiration behind the wallpaper is I wanted to create a really, really big drawing. As an artist, when you’ve had lots of shows, and it’s all white walls and things in box frames, you just want to break out of that, and I wanted to create a kind of immersive experience… and I wanted to layer things, so I made a wallpaper as a backdrop and then create works of art to go on top and even some objects taken out of the forest to go with it."

Detail from one of Burbridge's 8 foot by 4 foot master drawings
Credit Sandy Brown Jensen: Gallery photo by permission of the artist
Detail from one of Burbridge's 8 foot by 4 foot master drawings

Claire Burbridge’s fascinating, immersive show will be at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the University of Oregon campus January 15 through April 19, 2020 in the Artist Project Space.

Viz City is co-produced by Sandy Brown Jensen and Terry Way.


Terry Way has been hosting Viz City, KLCC's visual arts review program, since 2000. Terry hosts the show with Sandy Brown Jensen.