“I started building this show by painting cropped figures carrying suitcases, which are a recurring theme in my work,” Angela Burson told Juxtapoz this fall ahead of her new solo show, Travelers, opening at Hashimoto Contemporary in Los Angeles on December 9th. “The figures are going from place to place. Maybe they are meeting or passing, maybe they are leaving each other. It is like people watching.” Burson’s exploration of people moving, with an absence of faces, feels like a universality of the concept of how we can transport ourselves from place to place, memory to memory, or in the case of these paintings, a sense of waiting to waiting. There is also something brilliantly familiar but antiquated to the scenes; a vintage suitcase, an old rotary phone, or a TV operated with an antenna. We asked Burson about this, and how she grapples with nostalgia but still speaks about the contemporary idea of how we move.

“If I had to pinpoint a year, I think 1971. The houses were full of aging mid-century furniture, old phones, photos, cool shoes, and shirt collars.” Thinking of this, her concept for this show, which she says is the idea of “travelers,” feels more like her personal journey through time and the objects she cherished through her own experiences. Case in point: “I found an old cardboard suitcase in my grandparent’s attic,” Burson says. “I brought it down and my dad informed me that it was the suitcase he took to Vietnam when he was drafted at age 18. This suitcase held the energy of a young man leaving his sheltered life in a small Midwestern town heading into war. The history of this interesting-looking object made me aware of what weight objects can carry.” 

Text by Evan Pricco