Artist Statement

My practice is rooted in my mission, Regard Transforms. if you put aside judgement and really look, the act of seeing will change you. In a culture where we’re taught to fear difference (our own and others), I create opportunities to experience the transformation inherent in the act of regard.

Through my work, I invite regard for sovereignty — the interiority of each subject viscerally spills out through my portraits and abstract works unconstrained by human form. I invite my subjects (both self and other) to engage their responsibility through this provocation: your sovereignty has a signature, what mark will you make?

To regard is an act of aligning with reality and sovereignty. It’s at once grounding, yet completely disruptive to the stories in our heads. Through acts of regard, we can locate our true selves, connect more honestly with others, and put aside bias in favour of curiosity.

To regard is an act of power, particularly in the face of disregard, contempt, or power-over. I believe that if you really look, what you see changes. And more importantly, the decision to see will change you. My work is an exploration of this theme through painting, photography, and live participatory experiences. 

My paintings are a mix of abstract colour and portraiture. The expressive backgrounds bleed into the foreground, emphasizing and underpinning the expression on the subject’s face. This creates a blurring of the boundaries where the marks made lend the viewer insight into the subject’s rich inner geographies of power and choice.

About the Artist

Alyssa Burtt is an emerging multi-disciplinary artist from Vancouver, Canada. She learned her technique “Acrílico Modificado” or “Modified Acrylic” at the Center for Residences and Artistic Research ( CRIA ) in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico during an informal artist residency in 2013. She has a BFA from the University of British Columbia in painting, photography, and digital arts, and she has been drawing and painting portraits and figures since she was in grade school.

In 2019 she participated in Vancouver’s East Side Culture Crawl, and in 2022, she did another art residency at Canopy in Austin, Texas where she created her series called Spectrum on gender sovereignty in light of hostile trans politics in Texas.

Alyssa invites sovereign regard as a commitment and practice through all her work. She believes in the power of human sovereignty and regard for difference in a culture that fears it.