Nora McMillen Burke is an Austin- based visual artist and educator who draws influence from her background in textile design and love of folk art.
Born in Austin, Nora studied Textile design at the Fashion Institute of Technology before establishing a career in Art Education. She worked as a teaching artist for various NYC and Austin museums before she began focusing on painting and teaching process based art camps from her studio in 2012. Nora works with watercolor and oils, often combining marbling and dying techniques, to explore the interaction of multiple processes on paper and canvas. Nora is inspired by researching archetypal symbolism and finding common design motifs throughout global embroidered textiles. Her work explores symmetry and highlights the commonalities that connect craft traditions from diverse cultures.
My paintings explore the value of shared symbolism in global textiles and folk art, and what these commonalities can tell us about the human psyche. Despite geographical distance, tribal textiles share design motifs that represent themes such as protection from evil, death, power, fertility, and the tree of life. My artwork explores this idea of archetypal imagery, a validation of humanity's collective subconscious. I am comforted by these connections in our modern, polarized world. As humans, we all want protection from evil, to tell our story, to connect with the natural world and to understand where we come from. When I paint, I am trying to honor into these collective textile traditions because I feel they connect us by highlighting our shared humanity in a way that words cannot.