Elijah Burgher – Western Exhibitions, Chicago
Born 1978 in Kingston, New York, USA
I make modestly-scaled colored pencil drawings that utilize ideas from magick and the occult to address sexuality, sub-cultural formation and the history of abstraction. Citing early 20th century occultist, Austin Osman Spare’s system, I draw sigils—emblems to which magical power is imputed. By recombining the letters that spell out a wish into a new symbol, my pictures of sigils literally encode desire while embodying it abstractly through shape, color and composition. The precise, repetitive marks endow the drawings with an all-over charge. My representational works often depict naked men conducting rituals in rented rooms or wooded landscapes. They draw the ritual circle, invoke the dead, or cut symbols into one another. Others portray counter-cultural queer icons or betray a prurient attitude towards art history’s storehouse of imagery. At stake are a concern with human relationality and a desire to close the gap between fantasy and reality.