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Burb's Eye View: A haven of beauty in a complex world

May 29, 2012|By Bryan Mahoney

In an increasingly complex world, art can be that one thing to slow it all down and make you forget about the hate and vitriol pouring out of the TV, the radio, the Internet.

Everywhere.

Enter the lofty yet noble vision of Connie Towns Burr and Bruce Burr, who hope to provide some sanctuary from the headaches of everyday life.

Their gallery on the corner of Magnolia Boulevard and North Hollywood Way is a peaceful center where stress has no place. It is a fitting complement to the pastries and bakery delicacies of Porto's, just across the street — visitors often wander over with croissants in hand, sating appetites of stomach and mind.

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Connie and Bruce provide contemporary art with two goals in mind: to share beauty, and to make you think.

“Because God knows, we need more beauty in this world,” Connie said.

The two met eight years ago at a farmers market in Montrose. Bruce would attend to help his friend's booth, but kept noticing the watercolor artist with the booth next door. A few years later they married and incorporated the gallery.

The Towns Burr Gallery features the work of artists from Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena, and its back room is where much of Connie's and Bruce's work lives. There is a playful dynamic between the vivid, energized watercolors of Connie's floral paintings and the dark, angular photo illustrations that Bruce creates. In these, you might be transported to a spring blossom one moment, or a scene from another world in the next.

“I wish I could photograph flowers as well as she paints them,” Bruce said.

At dinner, they talk about what they plan on changing next with the gallery. Their life, they say, is “wrapped around it,” and between the various gallery openings, open houses and Magnolia Park events in the neighborhood, they hardly have time for their own art.

Somewhere in that schedule Connie does find time to paint, as her collectors demand new art.

One of those collectors was a set designer for “Grey's Anatomy.” In several patients' rooms during that show you'll see a flower on the wall, courtesy of Connie.

The challenge for both artists, and the artists they host in their gallery, is to rise above the noise in a visual-minded society where everyone has the tools to create, and through tools like Instagram and Facebook, they have the distribution, as well.

“You've got to turn their heads somehow,” Bruce said.

In their gallery, playful glasswork finds a home with rich ceramics and vivid acrylics. Contemporary art is given a traditional twist — a hallmark of the Burbank arts scene, Connie says.

At its center is a couple who wants to give that art a home — a haven of beauty and simplicity in an increasingly complex world.

BRYAN MAHONEY is a recent transplant from the East Coast. When he's not taking in a Danish and a Degas, he can be reached at 818NewGuy@gmail.com and on Twitter @818NewGuy.

The Towns Burr Gallery

Where: 3609 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank

When: Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Contact: (818) 845-7144, www.townsburrgallery.com

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