Marsha Burns, Untitled 45926
Untitled #45926

Marsha Burns studied painting at the University of Washington (1963-65) and the University of Massachusetts (1967-69). She began to work with photography in 1972 while living in Texas, and later in Seattle, Burns began to focus her energy on enigmatic figure studies and nudes in the studio, which explore the relationship between form and emotion. Burns had her models (mostly friends and acquaintances often with an androgynous quality) pose in largely empty settings in various states of undress. Burns states: “Each subject was approached as one formal element among a complement of others—glass, mirrors, changing light.”

In the following decades Burns continued to shoot portraits in her studio, but she began introducing more overt social content. Inspired by a visit to Berlin in 1984, the artist started making portraits of young adults who chose to set themselves apart from the mainstream. “I am drawn to the boundaries, to people whose existence is self-defined.”