Artist in focus

Sid Burnard : Free Spirit

Sid Burnard‘s life as a full-time artist began in 2012 after his first exhibition at the Goldmark Gallery and a life of countless and colourful careers. Since the success of his first show, Sid has spent the last four years tirelessly scouring the Welsh and wider British coast for usable pieces of driftwood and sea-drift debris for assembling his compositions, all in preparation for our imminent second exhibition.

His working methods are by necessity time-consuming and his materials difficult and fragile, making even deceptively simple assemblages incorporating only 2 or 3 elements difficult to accomplish.

Worn bits of driftwood, soaked with saltwater from the sea, must be left to dry naturally to avoid flaking and cracking. Larger hunks of wood can sit for years waiting to dry out, while smaller and more delicate pieces threaten to split or completely disintegrate before they can be used, making the hours spent salvaging in thunderous gales and rainstorms seem frustratingly futile.

Sid also works to strict and self-imposed conditions: he never cuts to shape or colours his material, only working with what he finds as it presents itself. As Sid discusses in the film, this approach becomes doubly demanding; a matter of deciding what to leave behind on the beaches as well as seeking out the very best pieces of driftwood amidst the rocks and pebbles.

Over the last 4 years, in addition to constructing over 100 new feathered friends, Sid has been documenting his processes and the birth of his creations in a diary which we have published. Entitled Sid’s Book, it includes, alongside notes on his assemblages and the surrounding West-Wales landscape, various recollections and reflections on his past jobs and a lifetime of enthusiasm for Nature’s bounty.

Published in both standard and collector’s editions, collograph prints that Sid has produced in our atelier from pieces of salvage measuring less than 2mm in thickness will accompany each deluxe collector’s book, as well as a small etching after one of Sid’s driftwood birds.

The work in this second exhibition of Sid’s represents an artist at the very height of his creative powers. Viewed on its own, each constituent piece of driftwood seems a small, crude lump of wood, metal or plastic. In combination, these items become magical birds and beasts with a life and attitude imbued by a creator with an incredible eye for the peculiarities of the natural world.

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