I was recently re-introduced to Tracy Burtz, a mutual friend suggested we meet. As I read the email introduction, Tracy's name and face appeared from the past, bringing back memories of high school art class. Tracy and I knew each other from our early art training. I looked forward to meeting at her studio, especially after visiting her website and seeing what an accomplished artist she became since those initial art days.
This painting, La Sposa, has stayed with me since first seeing it. It's a more recent work and filled with all that Tracy expresses as an artist.
We reminisced about Mr. Blackburn and Mrs. Sperber, our art teachers at New Rochelle High School, that we both had spent a summer at RISD and how that began to shape the creative directions we both took.
From the early years exploring drawing and painting, Tracy never stopped. She studied at Boston University School of Fine Arts and followed with an MFA at Queens College.
Her drawings reflect her incedible skills of composition, line and form
After grad school, Tracy left NY for 5 years in Paris, She studied with a variety of artists, Elaine DeKooning, James Weeks, Leland Bell and more, and describes these years as “fascinating and bohemian”. The influence of those years are evident in her work.
Back in NY, Tracy started teaching and showing her work, in NYC at Hoorn-Ashby on Madison Ave , and assorted galleries in Chelsea, Westchester and CT and exhibitions in Taos and Paris.
Her subjects are varied; portraits of women, couples, still lifes and seascapes. We spoke about the themes that tie it together - the traditional training emerges, it’s “all about picture-making, and what makes a great painting; composition, color, darks, lights, value, line and texture.”
You can’t help but feel Tracy’s love of women - her life is filled with 3 sisters, a daughter, Milena Corin, who has been the artist's favorite model throughout her life, and many women friends. She explores their beauty, their sexuality and their everyday lives.
Tracy’ s work is extremely personal. Talking and walking through Tracy’s home and studio (a picture-perfect Victorian barn, c.1850's, with 20' ceilings and fabulous light in South Salem, NY) is like passing through different moments in her life, each piece tells a story, about herself, about her models and their connection, about motherhood, marriage, divorce and the moments and emotions in between them all.
Time spent in Nantucket, Hawaii, Morrocco are expressed in small beautifully executed oil pastels.
and classic Still Life's express simple moments; the kitchen table filled with fresh flowers, coffee, cookies and chocolates
Each piece brings you to a different part of Tracy’s life, and the stories about them. Color is what strikes me the most about Tracy's work, and why I come back to La Sposa, it's quieter than most of her work - but in it's subtlety is depth of color, expression, form and line - all the traditional components that Tracy focuses on.
and then another favorite, Blue Girl, about color and yoga - a part of Tracy's life and also how we re-met, through Linda Kreisberg, our mutual friend and yoga teacher.