Metal As Anything: Ron Mcburnie

This weekend we open the doors to Metal As Anything, a 30 year retrospective exhibition showcasing intricate and endearing etchings by one of Australian leading printmakers, Ron McBurnie.

Misbehaving dogs, ducks in box kites and eccentric toad shooters feature amid a carnival of quirky characters and landscapes.

Washing the dog, by Ron McBurnie

Ron McBurnie "Washing the dog", 2000, hard ground etching, roulette and aquatint 17 x 12cm, edition of 20. Photo: Michael Marzik.

Ron McBurnie is an iconic Queensland artist and his distinctive style and seductively whimsical storytelling has earned him national recognition as a printmaker and artist.

SLQ hold a number of McBurnie’s prints and artists’ books in our Australian Library of Art collection, and we’re delighted to showcase these pieces alongside the stunning material in Metal As Anything.

Drawing inspiration from his daily life, McBurnie’s work captures the weird and wonderful moments that illuminate the everyday suburban existence, and the anecdotes that have inspired each piece are often just as enthralling as the artwork itself.

One piece from 1988 called Toad Shooter is based on a Townsville private detective who, after coming home from busy days of insurance fraud and other such draining cases, would sit in his backyard director’s chair with a torch and his .22 rifle popping the toads off as they congregated around his sprinkler. His wife would later collect the carcasses and incinerate them.

Toad Shooter, by Ron McBurnie

Ron McBurnie “Toad Shooter” 1988, hard ground etching and aquatint, 23 x 30cms, edition of 20

According to McBurnie, his inspiration comes from his everyday experience of the world.

“Someone might tell me a story and then I meet the people involved and the whole thing morphs into an etching. If I hear an idiotic story about a corrupt politician, or I am playing a piece of music that takes me to an extraordinary place, then that is my inspiration. Sometimes ideas and inspiration come from the weirdest of sources,” he said.

As part of the exhibition program, McBurnie will be in Brisbane running a number of art and printmaking workshops, as well as sharing his insight as an artist at free public talks. For program details visit www.slq.qld.gov.au/whats-on

A lady of elephants

Ron McBurnie "A lady of elephants" 1988 from the Suburban series, hard ground etching and aquatint, 20 x 31cm, edition of 20. Photo: Michael Marzik.

Metal As Anything: Ron McBurnie is a travelling exhibition developed by Perc Tucker Regional Gallery and toured by Museum and Gallery Services Queensland. This touring project is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland and the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.

Open daily 10am-5pm, 22 Sep – 5 Nov | Philip Bacon Heritage Gallery, level 4 | Free entry