Natalya Burd’s paintings capture glassy memories from the ghosts of history. Admittedly a bit obsessed with the American Civil War, her work—usually in metallic paint layered heavily on paper—involves dreamlike, but painstaking examinations of moments from the tainted past. A native of Kyrgyzstan, Burd later moved to Russia to get her first art degree. It was there she met her (would-be) American husband, eventually leading them to move to the States, where she earned an MFA from the University of Washington. Although she continues to be fascinated by the visual expressions of strife, division—and paradoxically—beauty, Burd has begun to experiment with plexiglass, re-creating lost scenes of the past to stunning effect.
“I like old photographs, and I’m drawn to black-and-white movies for their sense of light. But in my head, when I’m painting, it’s always a similar story. I have countless images of soldiers from the Civil War, and the more I was dealing with that subject matter, the idea of an ‘America’ or a ‘Russia’ or an ‘Italy’ wasn’t important to me anymore. Rather it’s the people and the specific circumstances that I’m drawn to. I think it’s the ugliest thing ever, a time where your brother can become your enemy. I felt that was always the struggle: relating the peace and beauty of where you live to the horrors that can occur in that same place.”
Written by Tad Malone
Photography by Daniel Garcia
This article originally appeared in Issue 8.4 “Profiles”