1944 - 2020

Richard Burnside

Pendleton, South Carolina
    Katherine Bell Douglas

    Born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1944, Richard Burnside moved to South Carolina when he was a child. He has held various jobs throughout his life, ranging from store clerk to chef. He married twice, for brief periods, and has two children from each marriage. He now lives in Pendleton, South Carolina.

    Burnside likes to create an Africanized mythology from biblical stories, folktales, and even nursery rhymes. The works' titles often identify the subjects as kings, queens, and priests. His paintings are stylized interpretations of things he has seen, from works of art to objects of daily life. He personalizes what he sees in much the same manner that Mose Tolliver creates fanciful creatures from ordinary print sources. Most of Burnside's works incorporate a group of independent but related forms, each with heavy outlines, dot patterns, and bright colors against a solid background. Generally included in the composition are numerous mask-like faces.

    The Man Behind the Eight Ball includes letters of the alphabet turned into a network of strange glyphs (with an exclamation point added). The Faces is an adaptation of drinking mug shapes. The Three Crosses resembles disposable razors, clotheslines, and telephone poles. "I just see things and then lock them up in my head," Burnside explained once to a visiting art collector.

    Souls Grown Deep Like the Rivers: Black Artists from the American South

    Souls Grown Deep Like the Rivers: Black Artists from the American South

    A wide-ranging survey of Black art in the American South, from Thornton Dial and Nellie Mae Rowe to the quilters of Gee’s Bend For generations, Black artists from the American South have forged a unique art tradition. Working in near isolation from established practices, they have created masterpieces in clay, driftwood, roots, soil, and recycled and cast-off objects that articulate America's painful past--the inhuman practice of enslavement, the cruel segregationist policies of the Jim Crow era and institutionalized racism. Their works respond to issues ranging from economic inequality, oppression and social marginalization to sexuality, the influence of place and ancestral memory.
    Souls Grown Deep: African American Vernacular Art, Vol. 1

    Souls Grown Deep: African American Vernacular Art, Vol. 1

    The African American culture of the South has produced many of the twentieth century’s most innovative art forms. Widely appreciated for its music—from the blues and jazz, to gospel, soul, rock ‘n’ roll—the region has also played host to a less visible but equally important visual art tradition.