The Notism Movement

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Notism art exalts the Beauty of Memory. It’s symbolic of primal loss; the fading reality of nature’s perfection. These hieroglyphic scribbles and scrawls manifest in a unique pictorial language that reflects urgent efforts to preserve our personal histories and rapidly fleeting histories.

It symbolizes our attempts to form a connection between internal memory fragments and nature’s raw symbols, textures, and colors. The haunting pain of life passing by is laid bare in textual writings that serve as metaphors for our past; a visceral loss of the profound feelings that accompany our recall of emotionally charged events.

Notism (“NO-tizm”) also assaults information overload and helps us preserve the organic power of communicating through intimate, hand-written notes.

Burkhardt Breaks New Ground. Literally.
2010 (A Review by Palm Beach Critic, Curator, Author and Editor-in-Chief of The Art Economist Magazine Bruce Helander. He is a former White House fellow of the National Endowment and contributes to the Huffington Post and The New Yorker.)

One Man’s Babel: The NOTISM of Ron Burkhardt. 2006
(A Review by Los Angeles Art Critic & Curator Peter Frank, editor of Art News Magazine)

Burkhardt Discovers There’s Art in Taking Notes. 2005
(Newspaper Review by Dr. Roberta Carasso, Elected Member International Art Critics Association)

Students’ Work in Notism at Montreal’s Centennial Academy Earns Honors in School’s Hall of Fame. 2011. (Quebec, Canada) Art Educator Darlene St. Georges led her senior students through a process of exploring the philosophy of NOTISM. Students produced large format (4’ x 4’) mixed media works, which are now installed in Centennial Academy’s Hall of Fame. Through their creative process, students engaged in reflective thinking, dialogue and a symbolization process with the aim of expressing issues and ideas surrounding their sense of humanity.


Burkhardt tracks our days through Memory Fragments as we wrestle with the inevitable loss over time of “what we knew, and who we were.” No sooner do we experience “Now” than that moment starts to recede, leaving us facing a nostalgic void for the fading experiences and people no longer near to us, as we desperately strive to keep those memories alive.

This unique genre of contemporary American art fuses abstract semiotics and organic writing to record symbols, words and cultural artifacts even as they drift slowly into the distant black hole of the past.

Burkhardt’s obsessive assaults on blank space, imbued with his compulsive detail, also depict a city-dweller’s incessant drive to harness the information overload of modern society. His intuitive work confers an ordered power on the daily chaos and confusion of our multi-tasking, computer-driven world.

Notism exalts the power of private thoughts expressed in hand-written text–its style, texture, intensity, dynamism, aestheticism, and the primal exuberance of precious memory recall.

These paintings and concepts also connote the eventual non-existence (“not-ism”) of life as it drifts slowly into the distant black hole of the past. Even as our memories and achievements surround us with grace and aesthetic richness.

Burkhardt’s work documents the last vestiges of human writing and its attendant beauty. Its mysterious, spiritual qualities reveal symbolic shapes and forms while exploring common chords in us all.

Working in his idiosyncratic system of “notes as substrate” for over three decades, Burkhardt’s Notist art is both primitive and evolved. The spontaneous, high-voltage images are a testament to the complexity, speed and intensity of modern urban life, with its disparate pulls on one’s soul.

Burkhardt won a prestigious Lorenzo il Magnificio de Medici medal for his mixed media work in Notism at the 2005 Florence Biennale, a contemporary art extravaganza held every two years in world famous Florence, Italy. It began in 1997, sanctioned by the United Nations to herald world peace by acknowledging the works of artistic greats such as David Hockney, Christo and Andy Warhol.