Elliott Louis Gallery Canadian Fine Art

David Burns


Since 1996 David Burns has been working on The 4 Elements Quartet, a body of painting that examines the intersection between technology and the natural world, structured on the four basic elements: water, fire, earth, and air. Burns offers unique insight into our understanding of landscape, technology’s relationship to it, and the psychological impact that our environment has on us in the 21st century; insight acquired living on the Sunshine Coast for the last 12 years.

“ I could never have painted these paintings had I remained in the city, my outlook on the landscape has changed completely.”

Burns moved to Pender Harbour after a few years of bouncing between Montreal, Quebec and the West Coast. Born in Montreal, he attended Concordia University for a year in the fine arts department but found academic learning wasn’t for him. “ I was interested in painting what I felt and I didn’t feel comfortable working in a classroom.” He eventually settled on the coast in 1987 working part-time in everything from construction to the greenchain while painting fulltime. Living in a rural community has led to an understanding of nature as a resource that people can earn a living from. “I want to get at how we relate to our environment through technology. I’m not interested in moralizing, I want to look, and paint what I see.” He is currently completing the last element of the quartet; air, using turbulence research as the technological intersection.

Burns lives with his wife and two children in a log cabin overlooking the Malispina Strait. His studio is within walking distance of the house, and at night you can often hear hot jazz and polyrhythmic stomping floating into the forest.



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