BY MATT DEMIRS ‘18
EDITOR IN CHIEF
One could say the Lake Forest College art department added a Swiss Army Knife to their list of faculty this semester.
The mixed-media artist and new assistant professor of sculpture and expanded media, David Sanchez Burr, has worked in a variety of disciplines from sound to sculpture, to painting and engineering, and everything in between, making him a man of many talents.
The number of skills Burr developed became something he started to incorporate into his sculptures, turning them into a time-based medium—meaning his installations change over time.
“All my sculptural work that I do changes over time and is intended to have a participatory element, interactive element, and also a democratizing element so you have people engaging in the work,” he said. “Things fall apart, people build things, they interact with it vocally—there is a lot of interaction happening there.”
An example of the type of installations he’s created where people interacted with his work is the installation called ‘n o w h e r e r a d i o,’ which first appeared at the foothills of the Sequoia National Park in Tulare County, California.
His display included a series of microphones and instruments visitors could touch and make sounds and music with.
These instruments were connected to a radio transmitter that produced the sound over the airwaves. People could hear the sounds they being created from a field of radios that were scattered in the near one-mile radius, Burr said, as well as being able to tune in and listen to it wherever you were if you had a radio.
The work combined a series of skills Burr learned over time, like engineering, which he said was self-taught. Self-teaching was something that made sense for Burr, due to his curiosity.
“Having curiosity is one of the bases of my teaching,” he said. “I find curiosity the most important thing…and that has helped me do the work that I’ve done and been shown the places I’ve been shown.”
His long list of exhibitions have left Burr’s artistic tracks all over the United States.
“I have an extensive record of exhibitions and I think a large part is due to my curiosity and in it the effect to try and bring something different, to bring a new approach to sculpture, to bring something new to the idea of participation and art,” he said.
The Spain native earned his master’s in studio art with a concentration in new media from the College of Fine Arts at the University of Nevada in 2009 and his bachelor’s degree of Fine Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University with a concentration in painting and printmaking in 1993.
Burr is teaching video art, 2-D/3-D fundamental classes, this year and sculpture and installation art next semester, he said.
On discussion of what students can get from an art degree, Burr said some perceptions are misguided by specific people, but the the skills gained through the type of education are essential.
“People with art degrees are invaluable,” he said. “If they maintain a level of curiosity they can go and work in just about any circumstance because they bring forth a new or different way of looking at things.”
Burr is most looking forward to working with the College’s diversity of students, directed by the the tenants in the school’s mission statement.
“I look forward to working under the paradigm that you know your students by name, you have close contact, and a more involved relationship that goes beyond Lake Forest,” he said. “(I’m excited by) the idea that I can spark curiosity and teach a variety of skills.”
Matt Demirs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org