By Andrea Richard
The paintings of Nocona Burgess are so bold that they incite powerful emotions. The New Mexico-based fine artist paints his subjects in simple compositions, using dramatic black lines and contrasting colors that are reflective of graphic design. This contemporary style juxtaposes with the unique and deep historical roots of his heritage from the Comanche Nation. Born in Lawton, Oklahoma, he traveled extensively across the United States with his family. Those travels served as an early education, and today continue to be sources of inspiration for his art-making. He grew up around traditional Native art by way of his family and reading about artists. His father Ronald Burgess studied art, painted and drew, and was a former chief of their tribe, and his mother LaNora Barker Burgess’ great grandfather was Chief Quanah Parker and her great grandmother Daisy Tachaco was a devoted bead maker. His grandfather and grandmother on the Parker side of the family were also artists.
“I liked the idea of modern Indians; after all that’s who I am. I loved the old style, but it seemed so distant to me,” he states in his artistic biography. “To this day I enjoy painting old portraits and traditional subjects, but in my own style. In a way, when I paint them the subjects speak to me and I get to know them. After looking at them over and over for hours, how can I not receive something from them? My painting is a way of saying thank you to them for all of their sacrifices.”
Burgess studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he earned an associate’s degree in fine arts in 1991. He spent one year studying at the University of Oklahoma before studying the Native arts. During his journey, he worked at a bingo hall that turned into a casino. But after five years working in the business, he decided to return to his art and later enrolled at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma to obtain a bachelor’s of fine arts degree. Today, his paintings are represented by a number of galleries.
For more information, visit www.noconaburgess.com.