Robert Xavier Burden’s Large-Scale Oil Paintings Explore Tension Between Imagination & Reality At Oceanside Museum Of Art Exhibition

The tension between imagination and reality is explored in Oceanside Museum of Art’s Robert Xavier Burden: Relics, on display from February 18 through June 4. Curated in honor and memory of the late Bob Self, the exhibition will feature thirty paintings ranging in size from 30×30 inches up to a staggering 8×14 feet, each taking anywhere from thirteen hundred up to twenty-one hundred hours to paint.

In 2006, Robert began creating a series of large-scale oil paintings based upon action figures from his childhood. Over the years the decorative motifs have become more complex and include historical references, often incorporating toys from various generations.

Robert Xavier Burden: Relics at Oceanside Museum of Art

Robert Xavier Burden: Relics

Robert Xavier Burden: Relics indulges a childhood fixation on animals with super-human characteristics found in films and TV and serves as a reflection on the plastic culture that is killing them. Viewers will absorb the adoration and glorification of the animals portrayed, while simultaneously feeling the shame and sadness they are surrounded by in the form of cheap mass-produced figurines.

Robert Xavier Burden: Relics at Oceanside Museum of Art

Burden’s captivation with animals began young, inspired by his aunt who was a zookeeper at the Toronto Zoo. As an adult, Burden began creating paintings based on his childhood obsessions, such as the Star Wars and superhero figurines he is known for.

There is an obvious irony in spending thousands of hours to create a single painting that glorifies a cheap, mass-produced toy. And while that irony could reflect issues of commodity fetishism, consumer addiction, Peter Pan Syndrome, or even shallow idolatry, Robert hopes these paintings represent something positive.

Robert Xavier Burden

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See you there, San Diego!

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