Ursula Burke

Visual Arts

Ursula Burke is an Irish artist who works in a variety of media including Sculpture, Photography and Porcelain. Much of her Fine Art practice deals with issues of Representation and Identity within contemporary Ireland.

She was awarded the Arts Council of Northern Ireland British School at Rome Fellowship in 2014. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, including SCOPE New York Art Fair 2015,2014, 2013 & 2012; Ex Elettrofonica Gallery Rome 2015; Transition Gallery-London 2015; Art of the Troubles, The Ulster Museum Belfast, 2014; Arafudo Art Annual, Fukushima, Japan 2014; March & June Mostra, British School at Rome, 2014; Spazi Aperti, Romanian Academy, Rome, 2014; Hope for a Better Past, The MAC, Belfast, 2013 & Instances of Agreement, Kao Yuan Art Centre, Taiwan, 2011.

Her work is part of the collection of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Office of Public Works, Ireland and in private collections nationally and internationally. She is an artist member of Outland Arts, currently works with Ex Elettrofonica Gallery Rome and is represented by the Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast.

Representation and Identity within post-conflict Northern Ireland is the main imperative of my work. Using a range of formal techniques drawn from the canon of fine art classicism, I work in dialogue between idealised versions of society expressed through the classical period and potential constructions of the ideal within contemporary, post-conflict, Northern Ireland.

A large proportion of my work at present is made using Parian porcelain, a hard paste porcelain that is famed for emulating Parian marble, the substance used for carving many of the Greek and Roman sculptures from antiquity. Even though Parian is extremely hard after firing, the nature of the material exudes a kind of softness and elasticity, (almost fleshy) which at the same time formally emulates the characteristics of marble. In content, the reference to the classical period that the work allows enables me to make a conceptual bridge between idealised versions of society much in debate during the classical period and the necessity for continually suspended versions of the ideal within a post-conflict society. Northern Ireland as a region is consistently working towards peace; persistently speaking and striving to move towards an indeterminate point in the future where real, meaningful and lasting peace between tribal communities has been realized. The schism between idealized forms of civil society and consistently suspended versions of the ideal in post conflict society is at the heart of this work.