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Artist Talks: Verity Burton

I first came across the work of Verity on Instagram. Her work struck me straight away because of how strong her use of colour is. The stark contrast between darks and lights and placement of ink on paper is enticing. It's sometimes very hard for me to place words to describe work but when I look how Verity is able to manipulate ink there is something very raw and organic. There is real flux to her work, though the work sits proud on the page, there is a narrative beyond this which has been created through the fluidity of line. I spoke to Verity about her work, her influences and progress ahead of her show at Toro, Falmouth opening this evening.

How was your time studying at Falmouth University? Did you find you changed a lot?

My practice is the refuge in which I process my experience of the world and so my work and I tend to evolve together. I think for me Falmouth was the beginning of my growth into a more accurate version of myself. The process has been slow and is ongoing; I need a lot of space to grow and reflect, so to have the dedicated time in Falmouth to do that was so valuable.

I was able to refine my interests and way of working, to cultivate a way of thinking that really worked for me. I began to learn to keep pushing- stay curious, see the value in challenging yourself. Where else can you go and what can you do differently? My progress is made through perseverance.

Falmouth is special in its location and its community and I’ve returned a lot since I left. It’s unique to have that creative network around and something you have to work harder for outside university, especially away from Cornwall and London, so I really appreciate the time I spent there.

Verity Burton

Where is your favourite place to draw?

Ultimately, my desk! I love to walk and visit gardens to draw and take photographs but I’m most comfortable producing work at a big desk with my journal and paints to hand. I tend to build collections of things that catch my interest from daily life so I’m usually surrounded by bunches of decaying flowers and piles of dried leaves. I work full time so find it really important to have a lot of source material around me when I get home.

What artists influence your practice?

There are many for different reasons, but to name a few of my favourites- Lucy Skaer, Ellen Gallagher, Prunella Clough, Susan Derges and Egon Schiele. Also Rachel Whiteread’s drawings and wallpaper designers Linda Florence and Timorous Beasties.

Verity Burton

How do you find sharing your work on social media in terms of gaining feedback? Do you find this helpful or detrimental?

It’s a fine balance. Generally I find it positive in terms of motivation- it’s always exciting to receive positive feedback and it can reaffirm a little faith in yourself on the doubtful days and encourage you to persevere.
However it’s easy to get caught up in the act of sharing and let this overtake the reason for making in the first place. Although I find it really interesting to note the feedback from particular pieces of work, I think it’s important to remember that there will always be differing opinions and that none of them are a mark of my personal progress. I like to use Instagram as a platform to share my work, but try not to let it shape its direction too much.

What’s the best exhibition you’ve been to and why?

It’s difficult to pinpoint the best but there are a couple that really stand out. The Turner Prize 2009 exhibition took me by surprise- I discovered Lucy Skaer and Richard Wright who have had a lasting impact on me. And on a trip to Vienna in 2011 I visited the Museum Hundertwasser as I’ve loved Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s paintings since I was a teenager- the work was as vivid and stunning as I’d hoped and definitely didn’t disappoint. On the same trip I also saw work by Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt and it was so exciting to see real what already felt so familiar.

Verity Burton

Describe your work in 5 words

Flux- balance- nature- placelessness- fragility

What are you currently working on?

For the past few months I have been building a body of work for my upcoming exhibition ‘Maple’ for TORO in Falmouth. Working on any collection for an extended period of time it can be easy to slip into a state of comfort and forget to encourage myself to keep experimenting, so it has been really interesting to watch the forms evolve and try to be conscious of the process.

My brief was to continuously document one particular plant from TORO’s collection, and that it be one I connected with. The maple’s elegance captured me early on and living 400 miles away I have been relying on limited source material collected earlier in the year, so it has been a really dedicated exploration. The exhibition will run from 1st-3rd December.

Where is your favourite place in Cornwall?

Trebah Gardens stole my heart at my first visit aged 14 and it’s a place I always get excited about returning to. I also love Gwithian beach just round the bay from St. Ives for its endless expanse and ever-changing sky.

Maple opens this evening at Toro, Falmouth and is on until the 3rd of December.

All images belong to Verity Burton and you can visit Instagram here to see more of her intricate studies. 


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