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I began a voyage to abstraction after a trip to China in 1998, followed by travels in India

and Japan in subsequent years, totally altered the way I perceived my environment. Rather than describing a subject, my works progressively focused on colour, line, texture, and the dynamics created through their juxtaposition. The works formed a condensed visual diary

of my travels.

Inspired by my impressions of Japan – both the importance the Japanese place on their

own seasons and the spare yet eloquent simplicity of much of their art and design – I  

began a new series of works  that reduced the elements of the Canadian seasons to their

bare essentials.


I wanted to paint not only what the seasons looked like but how they felt, to succeed in

“the momentary capturing of an essence or mood.”  In so doing, I completed the circle of

my artistic journey: I found that I had to have some recognizable features of the Canadian landscape in my works.


The result of this process is DOWNRIVER. The works depict all four seasons and were

done over the year in the Thousand Islands region of Ontario. The works are inspired by

the landscape, and the majesty and never-ending movement of the great St. Lawrence river.

Alice Burton 

July, 2004

“What is most interesting about Burton’s series Downriver, is that, in an act of self-conscious introspection, she turned the gaze of the Other onto herself. As only a Canadian – fluent in the language of cross-cultural encounter - could, Burton looks at herself and her country from the outside. What she reveals is a country whose visual vocabulary is as diverse as its seasons: her painterly style borrows from East Asian calligraphy and the stenciled forms of Indian textiles, conveying a Canada rich in cultural references and confident in its own identity.”

Ming Tiampo  Phd

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