July 18, 2024

Faux and iconic, Creston Arts presents pop surrealism

One of the robbers from Spanish Netflix show "Money Heist" is placed onto a map of Spain and Portugal.

A series of pop surrealist drawings has arrived in the Creston Arts Depot Gallery, with a collection of pop culture characters drawn onto maps by artist Mr. Burgher.

Burgher described pop surrealism as a fusion of works by Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol, combining iconic and recognizable items or characters with otherworldly and impossible visual images.

“It’s dreamlike settings with very recognizable images,” said Burgher.

Mr. Burgher’s artworks in the Depot exhibit all involve a pop culture character from a movie or TV show drawn with colored pencils and ink onto a map, which is rotated to distance the familiar association one might have. For example, The Dude from “The Big Lebowski” is drawn on top of an upside-down map of Iran and Iraq.

Mr. Burgher alongside a few of his works. His exhibit will be shown through the month of July at the Creston Arts Depot Gallery.

“If you see a map of Iowa, you recognize it,” said Burgher. “If you see it upside-down, it might take you a second to say that’s Iowa. You have to get a little deeper, a little closer to recognize what that is.”

The maps themselves sometimes relate to the original media piece’s setting, such as showing where the movie or show took place, although this is not always the case.

Each of the characters drawn are often incomplete for different reasons. Rivers and roads cut lines through the characters, and various parts of the character, such as the skin, head, clothes or hair are missing as well. Circles cut through the character, showing a certain area or place.

Burgher said some of these elements in his drawings have an intended meaning while some are “faux.” He hopes zeroing in on a location, either true or made-up, will help inspire thought and discussion, keeping the pieces open to interpretation.

Mike Burgher has a background in teaching after receiving a degree in education with a focus in drawing from the University of Northern Iowa. He grew up in the Des Moines area but frequently made visits to Creston due to his adopted family living there. He said his family helped him get close with art, building him into who he is today.

“I’ve been drawing and dabbling in creating since I could hold a pencil,” said Burgher. “I’ve been doing art basically forever.”

Burgher taught “any visual art you can imagine,” from sculpture and ceramics to graphic design and photography. His most recognized work in teaching comes from his classes in art appreciation. He creates a video series on YouTube called “Art 101″ where he visits art exhibits and interviews artists to talk about art and creating.

“There’s some people who want to be involved with art, but they don’t feel like they have those skills or those tools,” said Burgher. “Anyone can learn to appreciate art, anyone can go to a museum and talk about art.”

Since adopting the artist name of Mr. Burgher, he’s able to combine teaching and art into a recognizable identity.

“I always used my full name for years and years, it was just kind of boring, it didn’t tell people who I was,” said Burgher. “When I use Mr. Burgher, there’s a niche, it’s a teacher, it’s a recognized thing... In that way, I can use my profession as a teacher, and that seamlessly goes with the work that I’m doing, it lends itself to a different credibility.”

Burgher’s art will be on display in the Creston Arts Depot Gallery for the month of July. The exhibit is available for viewing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Nick Pauly

News Reporter for Creston News Advertiser. Raised and matured in the state of Iowa, Nick Pauly developed a love for all forms of media, from books and movies to emerging forms of media such as video games and livestreaming.