Ursula Burke


Ursula Burke. Golden Fleece Award 2018

Medium: Porcelain sculptures

Website: http://ursulaburke.com/

Porcelain Bust Secular Erotic Porcelain Bust Veil Porcelain Bust The Precariat - Installation


My aim for the coming year is to continue to work with porcelain and textile sculpture, but at a radically different scale, and using more complex and sophisticated production procedures. For some time, inspired by the work of Urs Fisher, Dahn Vo and Kader Attia, I have planned to extend my skills in order to begin making large or monumental pieces of sculpture/installation. A Golden Fleece Award would secure for me the time and financial support in order to significantly advance my practice. It would mean that I could purchase much needed materials at a larger volume, essential equipment, and I could secure a studio space to work in, which I am without at present. My methodology often involves layering art historical references with the social and political; I plan to spend a large amount of research time looking at resources such as the IMMA collection, a hugely valuable resource, and other culturally significant resources such as the National Gallery of Ireland, The Hugh Lane and The Chester Beatty Library. I also plan to visit other incredible resources and collections such as the V&A and the British Museum. I have a strong profile in Ireland: however, the support from and credibility of a Golden Fleece award would significantly assist me in positioning my work such that I could achieve extremely significant career goals.

Artist Statement

Recently much of my work has dealt with the social and psychic landscape following the peace process in Northern Ireland. My solo exhibition Hope for a Better Past at the MAC, Belfast, 2013 explored the unique slippages and schisms through which competing identities in the region are reproduced. I've also been interested in abuses of power in many realms of the social and political in the West (for instance, in embroidery works presented at Ormston House in 2016). Often, I take a Northern Irish context as a critical point of departure from which to generalise my approach outwards to international concerns. Formally, my work appropriates tropes deeply invested in the Classical, and re-inserts them in the contemporary: my aim is to create a conceptual bridge between the Classical 'ideal' (in form/society) and the 'reality' of contemporary post-conflict Northern Irish society. I'm now starting to investigate the experience of insecurity, fast becoming a universal condition as we struggle to subsist in an impoverished and increasingly unstable civil society, in which personal solutions are prescribed to global problems. Most recently, during March and April 2017, for a residency and exhibition with the Mattress Factory Museum, Pittsburgh, I made a body of porcelain sculptures responding to the Black Lives Matter campaign (The Precariat) and works exploring the perceived success or failure of political enterprise (Embroidery Frieze – The Politicians).