- - - - VIVID COLORS FOR A SMALLER WORLD - AMERICAN ARTIST EXHIBITS IN TREPTOW - - - -
"The world has become smaller, and the distance betweeen things
shorter." The American artist Patrick Burke, who since yesterday has
been showing his exhibition "On the Surface of Our Moon" at
Kulturehaus Treptow, is a widely traveled man and knows whereof he
"Man has conquered the distance to the moon, and has left behind his
traces there. You here in Germany have bridged the gap between East
and West, and are again one people."
As the son of a U.S. soldier, Burke grew up in Germany. Later he
settled on the American West Coast, then spent many years on board a
fishing fleet in the Alaskan waters, and worked as a cowboy and a
poultry farmer in the Vermont woods*.
The experience of a life filled with variety are mirrored in Burke's
paintings, which come alive with a charming alternation between
abstraction and reality. Burke also finds themes in the political
issues of the day, as in his painting depicting the misery of the
Kurdish refugees and the opening of the Brandenburg Gate.
His interesting work style, pressing acrylic paint or pastel ink onto
colorful backgrounds using a cold-needle technique, produces an
extraordinary line and special expression.
"I've always been a little skeptical of the art scene," says the self
taught Burke, who has never studied painting. "Furthermore, I distrust
galleries; it's better to take your own opportunities in hand as much as
possible." Burke, who has had some success in America and is showing
in Europe for the first time, has held himself to this conviction. His
friend, Rob Schrama, a Dutch performance artist, has helped with the
organization of Burke's trip to Europe, which will go on to Amsterdam
after the show in Berlin.
Burke's work is on display until August 23 in the gallery at 5
Puschkinallee. This is the gallery's premier showing of the work of an
American artist. Those interested in purchasing pictures should expect
prices in the range of 380 to 2,700 German Marks.
Jakob Augstein - - - -
* CORRECTION * Herdsman on a dairy farm in Vermont, not "cowboy and
poultry farmer etc." Organic Jersey cows, cedar sawdust on the barn
floor, a big stained glass window...not a chicken in sight.
(lost in translation but the thought of life on a poultry farm is not
apealling at all, even in Vermont.) PB.
(The mayor of East Berlin bought a work, the Brandenburg
Gate inspired work titled "Just A Road, Just A Road.")
From recently found mobile archives.
I became an artist in 1977 after spending three years as a commercial fisherman in Alaska where I fished for King Crab, shrimp, halibut and salmon on the North Pacific and on the Bering Sea. It was an amazing experience; inspired by sleep deprivation and the urge to survive I began to draw and paint. Prior to fishing I considered myself a writer, soaking up experiences, writing prose, poetry and short stories. I also spent 3 years as a herdsman on dairy farms in Vermont and in Washington state, my thinking at the time was that if I learned to fish and farm I would be a true Irishman, and I would always be able to get a job.
So I experienced the "ancient/primal" occupations. I have exhibited my work in galleries in the US and Europe. In 1991 I had the good fortune of being the first American artist to have an exhibit in East Berlin after the fall of the Berlin Wall, in Kulturhaus Treptow. My current goal is to write as much as I paint, combine unseen elements - create a big circle for the wind to blow through, causing sound. "There's plenty where plenty comes from."