Trawick Prize Winners' Attention to Details

The Washington Post
Michael O'Sullivan
The Washington Post

Washington Post Staff writer Michael O'Sullivan reviews the exhibition "The Trawick Prize" and gushes over Burtner's work.

"But the show's scene-stealer, for me, was the work of Richmond-based "collections artist" Caryl Burtner, the centerpiece of whose work -- contained in five three-ring binders so humble a visitor might easily overlook them -- consists of photographs and photocopies recording the provenance of every aspirin, blouse, bed linen, glove and shampoo bottle the artist has used, going back almost 30 years. It's a tour-de-force example of performance art, stark in its everyday simplicity, yet with the power of a ton of feathers (not bricks).

Stunning in its labor-intensive--no, make that obsessive-compulsive--nuttiness, Burtner's art makes Rieck [the $10,000 prize winner] and others in the show look like pikers. Still, "The Caryl Burtner Archives," as they're called, are not without a sense of humor. They disturb and delight in equal measure."