There is the Beach, There is the Ocean


  • Denise Burge University of Cincinnati





nostalgia, beach, landscape, glamour, mortality


My work investigates our complex cultural relationship with Nature with a capital "N", in particular the fantasy of tropical space: a collage of impressions and desires which ossify into a psychological 'elsewhere' that is in fact no place at all. By making images that simultaneously trigger and violate romantic tropes, I attempt to reverse the gaze of the tourist back onto itself. This essay describes the process by which I became a tropical tourist at the age of six, the year that I found my father’s heart-attacked body on our kitchen floor. This early experience of mortality, coupled with yearly family trips to the beach, created the representational code by which I now work out poetic relationships with desire and loss.

How to Cite

Burge, D. (2022). There is the Beach, There is the Ocean. Cubic Journal, 5(5), 30–41. https://doi.org/10.31182/cubic.2022.5.46



Author Biography

Denise Burge, University of Cincinnati

Denise Burge is a visual artist living in the United States whose work centres around the practices of installation, and quilt making. Her quilt work has been widely commissioned and collected, having been included in two Quilt National exhibitions. Her collaborative work in film, animation and installation has been exhibited in several national and international festivals. She has been awarded multiple awards and grants, including residencies at the Headlands Center for the Arts, the Provincetown Work Center, and the Joan Mitchell Center. She is currently a professor of Art at the University of Cincinnati.


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