The Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach recently acquired works by Zero Empty Spaces artist Anthony Burks, Sr. to add to its renowned collection. Burks is a resident artist at the arts organization’s Palm Beach Gardens studio location.
After touring Burks’ Palm Beach Gardens studio space and staging a live art activation the Norton, Cheryl Brutvan, the museum’s Director of Curatorial Affairs, approached Burks with a request to acquire two of his signature works: Mirror Black and Juneteenth.
“West Palm Beach native Anthony Burks, Sr. is a gifted draughtsman [and painter] and creates exceptional drawings,” said Brutvan. “Specializing in portraiture, among other subjects, he renders friends and strangers in profile or placed face to face in fictional relationships. His intensely expressive renderings push the viewer to consider universal interactions such as seen in the drawing of two men titled Mirror Black.”
Brutvan continued, “Burks also focuses on the powerful symbolism of a Black man’s raised arm with a clenched fist in Juneteenth. The gesture recalls the 1968 Olympics medal ceremony when American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised black-gloved arms to recognize the oppression of fellow countrymen. Despite their talent, they suffered professionally for decades for this action. He has reconsidered this historical subject reflecting on its continued meaning today.”
Burks employs colored pencils, watercolor, pen, and ink in his technique and his works are characterized by his unusual choice of colors. His subjects include people, birds, and other animals, and he tells their stories by intertwining their beauty and strength through his combination of realistic forms, bright colors, and abstract images. As a resident artist at Zero Empty Spaces in Palm Beach Gardens, he mentors fellow artists and teaches them his techniques and encourages them to pursue their talents. He is also the co-founder of A.T.B. Fine Artists & Designers, an art-based consulting firm that curates shows for other artists and promotes the local arts scene. He is presently working on a coffee table book of his paintings and drawings.