An overview of the career of one of the Island’s most significant visual artists on exhibition at CCAG
A new exhibition opens this week at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery (CCAG) celebrating the work of Brian Burke. The long-awaited two-gallery show will be open to the public on October 5 and officially celebrated—along with three other new exhibitions–at the Fall Art Gala on Friday, October 18 at the CCAG. The exhibition and its associated publication are sponsored by CN100.
The exhibition features over 100 paintings from a career that spanned 35 years. Brian Burke (1952-2017) was one of Prince Edward Island’s most significant visual artists of the past century. Mostly self-taught, although he did study briefly under Eric Fischl at NSCAD, Burke was a painter with a distinct personal style. His works addressed social roles, alienation, and the absurd in darkly humorous figurative images.
“Brian Burke is still a local hero, but he was also someone who dealt with universal themes, and achieved international success,” explains Curator Pan Wendt. “He was a rare artist who both sold his work and achieved critical acclaim, and he was a painter’s painter, instantly recognized by his peers for his original and powerful vision.”
This exhibition sums up Burke’s career, ranging from his rough and direct early work, through his time in New York and his major exhibition Mister Man, to his last decade, when he worked in Luzern, Switzerland, and includes loans from many private and public collections. It is accompanied by a publication that features essays by Wendt; Burke’s spouse, fellow artist Judith Scherer; NYU art history professor Robert Slifkin; and Swiss curator Heinz Stahlhut.
“We are so pleased with the generosity and collaboration of many private and several public collections for lending work to us for this exhibition in particular the Artist’s Estate,” says Gallery Director Kevin Rice.
He continues, “This retrospective of nearly 130 paintings, including many completed in Switzerland and not shown on P.E.I. previously, is really a celebration of an important Canadian artist. We hope we have a fantastic turnout at the opening reception at the Gallery on Friday, October 18 at 7 pm.”
Confederation Centre wishes to acknowledge the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Government of P.E.I., and the City of Charlottetown for their continued support.
Image cutlines: (1) I Know Where I Stand, 1993, 101.6 x 76.2 cm.