© By Ursula Burke
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The ability to make something hard such as marble, appear soft is something that is of huge interest to my sculptural practice. It prompted me to begin work during my fellowship at the British School at Rome with the Balaclava Bust piece which is based on a composite version of Virgin with the Veil (countless versions are in existence today). Throughout antiquity trainee sculptors would cut their teeth making their own version of this piece, which would illustrate their technical capacity for making the marble appear exquisitely soft. Even though the processes are different (this piece is made using parian porcelain) they are equally technically advanced, and with Balaclava Bust I attempted to do the same.
Through scoring out holes for the eyes and a hole for the mouth in the veil, reminiscent of a Balaclava I am trying to invoke a conceptual bridge between classical notions of the ideal in society and continually suspended ideas of the ideal in Northern Irish, post-conflict society.
Parian Porcelain and Lace