1. By Chris Belsito Sault Star

2. By Darren Taylor SooToday following Chris' article


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Chris Belsito's Article

Annie King & Michael Burtch transform Heliene into giant gallery.

Duo exhibit art show brings a 'New York or L.A.' to the Sault

Local artist Annie King didn’t originally see art in her future when she was attending school.

She started university thinking she might want to go into medicine.

“Science and math were always my strong suit academically, but I took a painting course as an elective, and I loved it,” says King.

“I actually found it really challenging and I received the worst mark I have ever had.”

Despite the unsatisfactory grade, she was hooked.

“I switched majors and graduated with a BFA followed immediately by an MFA.”

King, who was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, studied locally with the exception of moving briefly to Edmonton to attend graduate school.

Her family and the beauty of the surrounding lakes kept her in the community.

It was here she met and made a connection with local artist Michael Burtch, who has called the Sault home for the last 40 years.

“Michael was first my professor in drawing and art history,” laughs King.

“He then quickly became a mentor. We kept in touch and became really great friends.”

As fate would have it, King wound up moving into Burtch’s neighborhood.

“It’s pretty fantastic to have an art friend just down the road you can discuss your crazy art ideas or discuss art history with over a drink,” says King.  

Burtch’s sculptures are often based on the human figure as an integral part of nature.

He is known to be inspired by the cycles of decay and growth in our natural world.

King’s work is informed by concern for “environmental degradation, eco-anxiety, fragility and loss but also resilience and healing.”

She uses ideas of “destruction and rejuvenation through sculptural imagery often using fire, pigment and natural material on large wood panels.”

“We realized that although our works visually are so different, we have overlapping themes and ideas running through our work that lead well to collaboration.”

Before the duo began formally working together or collaborating on projects, they hosted an informal show and sale for friends and family in Burtch’s back garden after the lockdown ended.

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SooToday report on Black Water, Sunken Cathedral


Darren Taylor

Darren Taylor
Jun 26, 2023, 1:19 PM

 Exhibition and performance entitled Black Water, Sunken Cathedral will take place at Heliene in August

Michael Burtch remains a creative force on the Sault’s art scene.

Exhibition and performance entitled Black Water, Sunken Cathedral will take place at Heliene in August

Now in his 70s, the artist is still creating thought-provoking work.

Burtch is currently looking forward to presenting Black Water, Sunken Cathedral, an exhibition and live performance created in collaboration with fellow Sault artist Annie King in partnership with Fringe North.

The one-night event will be held at the Heliene solar panel production plant’s property on Allen’s Side Road at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18 with a reception to follow.

Black Water, Sunken Cathedral will feature the work of Burtch and King in spoken word, movement, sound, water and sculptures.

“It deals with life, death and everything in between and the environment. That’s the black water. It’s sort of a prophecy and a warning, environmentally,” Burtch told SooToday.

The sunken cathedral aspect of the show stems from an ancient legend of a cathedral rising from the water off the French coast on clear mornings, accompanied by the sounds of chanting priests and chiming bells.

The legend was put to music by French composer Claude Debussy in the early 20th century.

Burtch spoke of how the sunken cathedral concept inspired him in the creation of his upcoming show.