Reimagine Montana residency 2016

The jurors of the Reimagine Montana residency selected me to work inside of an existing copper mine in the city of Butte for one month. I was particularly interested in the rich mining history of the area combined with the complicated environmental legacy it left behind.

After receiving permission to set up a temporary studio inside of the hoist house at the Anselmo Mine I spent several afternoons sitting in the space, taking in the sounds, smells and scenery of a site that was once teaming with miners less than sixty years ago.

Studio setup inside of the Anselmo Hoist house

The dense smell of industrial lubricants combined with the weight of a pungent, earthy scent greets you upon entering. The finished paintings possess a similar air quality that reflect the claustrophobic environment of poorly lit mine shafts. Unlike much of my recent work, the paintings lack trees and foliage, which is in large part a result of making work amidst these elegant, industrial fossils and feeling conflicted about the environmental fallout that is playing out in present day Butte as a result of the work that took place here. 

Submerged, ink on acrylic panel, 60" x 48"  (sold) Submerged, ink on acrylic panel 40” x 60” (sold)

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David Burke •
Oakland • California