Jack Burman is a Toronto photographer whose principal work includes the extreme-baroque altars of Hispanic churches; the landscape of WWII extermination camps; and human remains from medical sources. For his exhibition at Clint Roenisch, Burman will present recent large-scale images of anatomical specimens and autopsy work, shot in Argentina, Brazil, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Switzerland and the United States.
As part of Burman’s interest in some extreme forms of experience these images arise from years of bureaucratic negotiation for permission to work with such remains. “Physicality,” W.G. Sebald has said, “is most strongly sculpted and its ‘nature’ most perceptible on the indistinct borderline with transcendency.” In Burman’s work, anatomy and pathology department storerooms are on this borderline (like an extermination site in southern Poland, or a baroque retablo in a Mexican village). Writing of his solo exhibition at the University of Toronto in 2003 John Bentley Mays noted that “his anatomical photographs…invite us to make the ever-dangerous surrender to the exquisite.”