Ron Burkhardt, founder of Notism, describes it as "...a unique genre of contemporary American art which fuses abstract semiotics and organic writing to record symbols, words and cultural artifacts, even as they drift slowly into the distant black hole of the past. No sooner do we experience “Now,” then that moment starts to recede, leaving us facing a nostalgic void for the fading experiences and people no longer near to us, as we desperately strive to keep those memories alive." Notism exalts the power of private thoughts expressed in hand-written text–its style, texture, intensity, dynamism, aestheticism, and the primal exuberance of precious memory recall. These paintings and concepts also connote the eventual non-existence (“not-ism”) of life as it drifts slowly into the distant black hole of the past. Even as our memories and achievements surround us with grace and aesthetic richness.
Burkhardt’s obsessive assaults on blank space, imbued with his compulsive detail, also depict a city-dweller’s incessant drive to harness the information overload of modern society. His intuitive work confers an ordered power on the daily chaos and confusion of our multi-tasking, computer-driven world. Working in his idiosyncratic system of “notes as substrate” for over three decades, Burkhardt’s Notist art is both primitive and evolved. The spontaneous, high-voltage images are a testament to the complexity, speed and intensity of modern urban life, with its disparate pulls on one’s soul.
"I’ve always been intrigued by words, bold colors and impactful shapes."
Burkhardt has another body of work called "Earth Art." "Rooted in earth’s gritty reality, my Earth Art reveals intriguing layers of textual substrates forged from earth’s crust. Heralding the complexity, beauty and power of our planet, Earth Art canvases fuse paint, water, raw dirt, snow, rain and intense sun over a period of weeks to create otherworldly dimensions and color forms.
Working with earth and water on unprimed canvases is a rugged discipline that instills newfound respect for the planet’s elements. After soaking a canvas in water, I work with my hands, flinging acrylic and enamel paint in all directions. Then I form random designs and cover it with mounds of indigenous soil, adding more water and letting the paint leach through. Finally, I bleach the confluence of colors and elements in the heat of day, fusing dirt to canvas as colors take root in the hot sun. And then I repeat the process, creating dozens of layers and startling colorations.
It’s exciting to see unexpected juxtapositions of color emerge as nature forms its own rich palettes and intensity. I leave canvases outdoor for days, sometimes weeks, to create a unique weather-worn look, with multiple textual layers, affirming that beauty does not endure forever. Each is signed and dated on the back, identifying the city in which the art was originally formed, creating a legacy that enables others to share the emotional energy my organic paintings exude.
Burkhardt won a prestigious Lorenzo il Magnificio de Medici medal for his mixed media work in Notism at the 2005 Florence Biennale, a contemporary art extravaganza held every two years in world famous Florence, Italy. He has won over 200 creative awards and been interviewed on NBC, CBS, CNN, Plum-TV, Aspen’s PBS-TV, and Hamptons/WVVH Television. His paintings are held in numerous museums, private, corporate and university collections in the U.S. and Europe.