Richard Paige — There were flashes during the opening reception for “Noli Me Tangere: Lamentations,” where artist Kelvin Burzon ’12 sought moments of quick reflection. In between questions or comments from patrons, or well wishes from friends, I could see him contemplating something deeper.
The Eric Dean Gallery is a place he loves dearly. Kelvin says he spent hundreds of hours in it as an undergraduate. Now, his art is featured on its walls through April 10.
“I never thought I’d be back this soon,” he begins. “It’s a big thing. I don’t think I’ve processed the full circle that it has become.”
He was introduced to photography – his chosen medium – while a freshman at Wabash. Seeking an art class as a balance to a planned major in biology or chemistry, his cousin had signed up for a photography class taught by Professor Kristen Wilkens, so Kelvin did too.
That 8 a.m. course changed his entire perspective.
“I ended up loving the romance of the darkroom,” he says. “It brought out darker themes and the immediacy of what photography does. I’d never been exposed to what photography was and what it could do.”
There are multiple layers to his art. There is the photography, but Kelvin also constructs the intricate wood frames and altars that display his art. The process isn’t complete until it can live on its own on gallery walls.
“You don’t know until you see it on a wall,” he says. “It not a file; it’s no longer a Photoshop document; it’s no longer a thought. The wood comes together with the photograph and it’s lit up on a wall by itself with room to breathe. That’s when I know (it’s ready).” With the art presented telling much of his life’s story over the past eight years, I asked Kelvin if he was ready to let it go. He smiles broadly and says, “Yeah, your artwork is your baby. The easy part is that it’s in a place where I know it will be respected and looked at thoughtfully – somewhere I’m familiar and feels like home.”