Berlin, Vt -- August Burns and Elliot Burg are married and live in Middlesex, Vermont. Each has had a career outside the arts—August in international women’s health and Elliot in public interest law—and both have long been involved in portraiture. August’s mediums are painting and drawing; Elliot’s, photography. Using these different modes of expression, they have shared a vision of the beauty of the human form, and of the capacity of the human face to convey personality, mood, and some essential quality of the life lived.
Their exhibit “Two Paths, One Vision” will be hanging in the Central Vermont Medical Center lobby gallery through June 6.
“The focus of my life and my work has always been people. I started painting at an early age, and the subject that has always captured my imagination is the tiny nuance that makes each person unique, said August. “My process is to paint or draw from life, interviewing my subjects and listening to and in some way capturing their stories through marks on paper or canvas.”
“My parallel life has been in global women’s health, delivering hundreds of babies and caring for women from Vermont to Bolivia to Tanzania. Each child, each woman has her own story; no two faces are alike. My goal is to find that person through portrait and share their story through their gaze,” August concluded.
“My first foray outside the United States was in the 1970s during a one-year leave from law school that turned into three years on the road, in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia,” said Elliot “My eyes were opened to the deep diversity of humankind and, at the same time, to the essential commonality that unites us all.”
It was at that time that Elliot first picked up a camera to record what she saw and felt about the people around her. “I came to understand that my best photographic portraits were of individuals with whom I had had some personal interaction—a stay in their community, shared work, a conversation in words or pantomime,” she said.
The photographs in this exhibit were taken in three places: in a small village in Bolivia where August and Elliot lived for a year; with a street photography class in Cuba; and while doing volunteer work in Myanmar (Burma).