About the Artist
Nora McMillen Burke is an Austin based visual artist and educator who draws influence from her background in textile design and her love of folk art. Born in Austin, TX, Nora studied Textile design at the Fashion Institute of Technology before establishing a career in Art Education. She worked as a teaching artist for various NYC and Austin museums before she began focusing on painting and teaching process-based art camps and workshops in 2012. Nora works primarily with watercolors and oils, often combining marbling and dying techniques, to explore the interaction of multiple processes on paper and canvas. Nora is inspired by archetypal symbolism and common design motifs found throughout global textiles. Through this lens, her work explores symmetry, pattern, and the natural world.
My work explores the value of archetypal symbols found in global textiles and folk art. I use pattern and repetition to explore symbols that embody universal meanings and connect us in our shared human experiences, regardless of when or where we live. Archetypes evoke deep and sometimes unconscious responses in both the creator and the viewer, tapping into our unconscious with images that reference power, death, fertility, protection from evil, health, spirituality and the unknown. I am inspired by finding commonalities throughout many cultures textiles and believe textiles have the unique ability to connect us, as they accompany us on every step of life, from swaddling after birth to burial cloths at death. My work is very driven by the exploration of processes and I enjoy leaving space for the interaction of multiple techniques to drive the final outcome of a piece. I paint primarily with watercolor on paper or oil on dyed canvas depending on the level of transparency I want to explore. Maintaining some element of uncontrolled surprise is a necessary part of my work. Combining the elements of precise, detailed drawings and a more subjective and emotional approach to color is another reoccurring tension in my work.