Chair of the Art Department at Mercyhurst College in Erie Daniel Burke will be sharing his unique flights of fancy with Warren residents this November.
Burke's upcoming installation at the Crary Gallery, "Reclaimed", will present a collection which he said, "reflects a change in direction to more open-ended investigations of old concerns and toward the re-use, recycling and repurposing of non-art materials."
Old concerns, in Burke's case, often means a focus on the fowl.
Daniel Burke’s exhibit at the Crary Gallery this November will include the pieces “Habitat with Music” and “4 and 20 Black Birds”, both pieces are acrylic, oil and mixed media on wood and PVC pipe.
As part of what Burke described as, "a continuing investigation of nature", his studies have resulted in a focus on birds. You won't find many Audubonesque depictions of the creatures Burke draws his inspiration from however.
"Although I use bird imagery, it is never literal interpretation, but rather imaginative studies of birds," Burke said. "The art is about shapes, colors, texture, scale, patterns, rhythm; and fragility, improbability, imagination and abstraction."
The Crary exhibit is a return to those themes in a new light, Burke said.
It is also representative of an increased awareness of the importance of repurposing in Burke's work.
"I've noticed increasingly my work relies on reclamation, recycling and the reuse of materials," Burke said. "These current concerns have entered my aesthetic, but were not really chosen as paramount to the art. There is a dawning consciousness of their importance."
The show is hardly a first for Burke, he has had twenty-five one person shows, according to his website.
Some highlights include presentations at the Williams College Museum of Art, the Arlington Art Center, the Second Street Gallery, Gallery 937, the Erie Art Museum, Clarion University, the University of Dayton, Edinboro University, Quincy College, Mercyhurst College and Allegheny College. He has also participated in shows at the Minnesota Museum of Art, El Paso Museum of Art, Butler Institute of American Art, Carnegie Museum of Art, Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences and Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, amongst others.
Burke also currently has work in a number of permanent collections including the Laguna Gloria Art Museum, Del Mar College, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, the Erie Art Museum and Southern Utah State College, amongst others.
Burke has also created display installations, including an on-site piece at Presque Isle.
Burke is also a working professor of art at Mercyhurst, listed in Who's Who in American Art since 1973, listed in the International Directory of the Arts and affiliated or listed with numerous other organizations and publications. He is a founding member of the Northwestern Pennsylvania Artists' Association, which formed in 1975, and was the organization co-executive chairman until 1990.
Burke attended Erie Technical High School, the Columbus College of Art and Design and, following a three year stint in the United States Army, received his bachelors degree from Mercyhurst College and his masters from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
All that experience has led Burke to an understanding of what art mean to him. Burke breaks his process down into five distinct stages.
Observation: "Usually there is a visual stimulation of some sort that generates an intrigue; beckons an investigation," Burke said.
Search: "The study of observations," Burke pointed out. "This is done concretely. It is the hours upon endless hours of photographing, drawing, making and painting particular things and objects. Not thinking about them, but getting to know them through art. Acquiring them through obsession, patience or perhaps homage."
Focus: According to Burke, "Searches narrow into areas of concern. What the works will be about. More things to be made. Surfaces prepared."
Assembling: "Change is always possible," Burke noted. "Once I have enough stuff, I begin to organize. I use velcro, push pins, tape or whatever when placing and arranging the initial phase. Rearrangement is constant. Then as the work becomes more cohesive, more art formed, yet hopefully still what it wants to be, I glues, nail, screw and bolt. Further, I work in layers from the substrate outward; then back to the base, sometimes cutting away stuff and adding sections to the back as needed.
Final presentation: "After I have lived with the work," Burke said. "And, more importantly, after the work has continued its dialogue with other works and gone through a refining process, the work is exhibited."
Vice-President of the board of directors for the Crary Gallery, Thomas Paquette, said, "Daniel Burke has a very inventive attitude toward creating art. His art has gone through many changes over the years, as you can see by the various stages of work in the Erie Art Museum's collection of his pieces. It's exciting to have his latest, playful, complex pieces on display in Warren. It will probably appeal to aspiring art students as well as the general public."
Paquette noted Burke, with his teaching background, will be available to discuss his works.
"Dan actually enjoys speaking about his work," Paquette said. "So anyone who is curious will have answers to questions at his gallery talk on Nov. 16 or at the opening reception Nov. 3."
Burke himself noted he will be offering a presentation to, "about 75 bused in fourth, fifth and sixth grade students during the run of the exhibit."
"Reclaimed" will be at the Crary Gallery from Nov. 3 through Nov. 25. An opening reception will be held on Nov. 3 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. an Artist Gallery Talk with Burke will be held on Nov. 16, beginning at 7 p.m.
The Crary Gallery is open to the public from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays, from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Fridays and from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m. on Sundays. Admission to the gallery is free.
Additional information on Burke, and images of his work, can be found online at www.danielvburke.com.