Marita Burger (1928-2006) was born in a suburb outside of Akron, Ohio, but she has not limited herself to Ohio when looking for inspiration for her artwork. Burger has travelled to Florida, Maine, Michigan, and deep into the American West to explore ideas and concepts for her sketches.
According to Burger, her early artistic influences included the works of Van Gogh for his color and texture, Monet for his mastering of water-images, and J.M.W. Turner for the freedom she discovered in his soft “sweeps and swipes”. Burger excelled in a variety of media, including realistic drawings, mixed media collage, paper sculpture, and acrylic painting that featured brilliant colors.
She discussed, “Most of my own works reflect the many aspects of our natural world, especially those in the Tropics.” She enjoyed working with organic themes and used materials such as sand, shells, rocks, and wood, as well as objects she found in her travels. Her early shell and tropical images progressed into series such as Earth Patterns, which were inspired by views from an airplane, and the Birds and Rain paper sculpture series. Burger went on to say, “In my art, as in everyone’s life, changes happen because one thing leads to another. Experimentation seems to be the driving force behind my works, following perceptions, observations, and ‘what-ifs’”.
Burger began her formal training in art at the age of thirteen, but she did not begin to vigorously pursue a career in the visual arts until her children had grown. During this time, however, she pursued an art degree at the University of Akron and then the Cleveland Institute of Art where she studied with Shirley Aley Campbell, Chris Pekoc, and Maxine Masterfield.
She began exhibiting her work in shows and claiming awards as an emerging artist, including juried shows like the Three Arts Club where she won first place (1965, 1967). She went on to exhibit widely in the region, including the solo show Paper Panache I in the Artisans All Gallery (1988), and the National Collage Society Juried Exhibition, where she was selected for an award (2001).
Burger’s works are within the permanent collection of Shell Gas Station and many other private collections across the country.