Born in Kingston, New York in 1978, Elijah Burgher is an American artist who produces both figurative and abstract colored pencil drawings, paintings and prints of sigils. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, and his Master of Fine Arts at Chicago’s Art Institute. Burgher currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany. His work is represented by the Horton Gallery in Dallas, New York’s contemporary PPOW Gallery, and Western Exhibitions in Chicago.
In his work, Elijah Burgher uses ideas from occult and magic traditions to address queer sexuality, sub-cultural formations, and the history of abstraction. He also creates sigils, symbols of magical power, inspired by different esoteric systems, including the works of English illustrator and occultist Austin Osman Spare, who trained as a draughtsman at the Royal College of Art in South Kensington. Burgher’s sigils encode symbols of wishes and desires through their shape, and the compositions of their elements and color.
Burghers colored pencil drawings of nude male figures, often featuring images of friends, illustrate scenes from his daily life and environment. Acting as ritual relics, they have an erotic quality that anchors their abstract components into reality.
Elijah Burgher had solo exhibitions of his work in several galleries including the 2018 “Nudes in the Forest” at the Ivan Gallery in Bucharest, Romania; “Bachelors” at New York’s Zieher Smith and Horton Gallery in 2016; and “Elijah Burgher, Topple the Table of Correspondences’ in 2011 at 2nd Floor Projects in San Francisco, among others. As a resident artist at Western Exhibitions in Chicago, Burgher has had several solo exhibitions in its gallery from 2012 to 2020.
Burgher has also shown his work in multiple group exhibitions from 2000 to 2021, including the 2014 Gwangin Biennial, Asia’s most important contemporary art exhibition which was held in the Republic of Korea; New York City’s 2014 Whitney Biennial; “The Temptation of AA Bronson” exhibition held in 2013 at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, Netherlands; the 2020 “intimacy: New Queer Art from Berlin and Beyond” held at the Centre d’Art Contemporain in Geneva, Switzerland; and “Secret Language” held in 2021 at the Ivan Gallery in Bucharest, among others.
In 2011, Elijah Burgher held a Residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in New York City and a Fire Island Artist Residency in Long Island, New York.
Note: an interview with Elijah Burgher can be found at the Inside/Within web art archive located at: http://insidewithin.com/elijah-burgher/
Elijah Burgher’s works can be found at the P.P.O.W. Gallery site located at https://www.ppowgallery.com/artists/elijah-burgher#tab:thumbnails
Bottom Insert Image: Elijah Burgher,, “Bachelor with Demons (Sleezy)”, 2015, Colored Pencil on Paper