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Sept. 28: Carnegie Mellon Professor Lowry Burgess Displays Visionary Paintings at Carnegie Museum of Art


Eric Sloss                          

Carnegie Mellon Professor Lowry Burgess Displays
Visionary Paintings at Carnegie Museum of Art

PITTSBURGH — Four large paintings, envisioned as portals to the earth, the oceans and space, will be displayed by Carnegie Mellon University Art Professor Lowry Burgess at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh starting Nov. 10 and running through March 23, 2008. A 40-year work begun in 1966, the 12-by-16 feet oil paintings are visionary portals into the "Quiet Axis." The paintings comprise eight major aspects and 60 preparations.

"They are intuited 'gateways,' felt connections, correlated to artworks placed around the earth, in oceans, and in outer space," Burgess said.

"The Lotus / Waterlily (Buddha)"

In this painting, there is an image of a disembodied pond floating in the air, a vision Burgess had in 1968. Burgess placed 12 holographic plates of water lilies in six pits along a mile-and-a-half long axis sloping up at 12 degrees in Afghanistan, creating the "Inclined Galactic Light Pond," the realization of his image.

"The Rose"

In Afghanistan, Burgess had another vision. This vision was of a rose-like scarlet axis coming through the Earth from the Pacific Ocean opposite the world from Afghanistan. This vision is depicted in "The Rose" and is related to the second aspect of "Quiet Axis:" the "Utopic Vessel." In 1978, the vessel was dropped into the bottom of the Pacific Ocean near Easter Island exactly opposite the Earth from Afghanistan.

"The White Lily"

When Burgess dropped the "Utopic Vessel" into the Pacific Ocean, he saw the splash of water and imagined the drops ascending into the atmosphere and re-entering Earth at the "Diamond Spring" in Yellow Springs, Pa. The video image of the pouring waters at the spring was transformed into sound and broadcast as radio waves to the moon. The waves were bounced back to Earth by the moon and were captured by a radio telescope and turned into sonic holograms at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In this painting, there is a deep red seed. The seed represents one of the two "Seeds of the Infinite Absolute," the sixth major aspect of "Quiet Axis." These metal seeds contained an emulsion of the essences of 44 trees, 52 flowers, 36 waters, 32 bloods and 120 hopes. On July 1, Burgess traveled to Greece where he placed one seed on top of the 8,000-foot tall Taygetos Mountains and dropped the second seed into the 20,000-foot deep Calypso Deep, where the African tectonic plate subducts under the European Plate. The seeds that Burgess dropped into the ocean in Greece in 2007 are also present in several of the paintings.

"The Crocus"

This painting is related to "Memory Forms of the Unmanifest," another aspect of "Quite Axis." At the top of the painting is a sphere of the "Unmanifest," which radiates the fifth and 13th mysteries: "Mystery of the Love-Light" and "Mystery of the Fanning Out," respectively.       

Burgess is a professor of art in the School of Art and former dean of the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon. He is also a distinguished fellow in the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, which supports advanced research by artists. In 1989, his work "Boundless Cubic Lunar Aperture" was the first piece of art taken into space by NASA.

Visit to hear Burgess talk about "Seeds of the Infinite Absolute." For more information, contact Eric Sloss at 412-268-5765 or