Path

 

My art's current path continues to express my concerns about our impact on the environment.  Even though the work rages from symbolic representation to abstract, the intent remains focused on engaging the viewer in a dialogue about pollution of the land, sea, and sky.

"Broken Water" (Diptych) 30" x 80" Acrylic / Canvas.

"Broken Water" (Diptych Painting) 2020 - 36" x 72", Acrylic on Canvas

 (The painting was completed on election night 2020.)  Bethel CT Studio

 

The work has disparate origins. One is the promise of water or river baptism. The other is our environmental disregard for this life-sustaining resource; hence, the title "Broken Water." is intended to have the viewer wrestle with science and religion's juxtaposition. To have them ponder this resource as a spiritual icon and a necessity for continuing life on our planet.

 

Something incredible happens as we humans look at art, we bring our emotional warehouse to the process, and we see things the artist did not intend. There is a term for it, "Pareidolia" The definition does not do justice to the phenomenon (see below).

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Pareidolia: par· ei· do· lia,

The tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern The scientific explanation for some people is pareidolia, or the human ability to see shapes or make pictures out of randomness. Think of the Rorschach inkblot test.

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I believe this phenomenon is not limited to our vision or engaging art; we interpret everything through our emotional prism, be it religion, science, society, and politics.

"Somewhere Beneath the Sea" Graphite Pencil / Paper, 15" x  21" (Framed 24” x 30”).

“Sun Block" Graphite Pencil / Paper, 10.5" x 13" (Framed 19.5” x 22”).

This drawing is another focus of my art, the death of coral reefs.  I titled this "SUN BLOCK" because manmade waste blocks the sun from reaching the coral. Without the sun, the coral dies.  At this point in our history, fifty percent of the ocean's coral is dead.  This living organism is vital to the balance and health of the oceans and biosphere.

Colorless & Odorless” for this collaborative exhibit regarding honey bees focus on Carbon Dioxides' role in the worldwide "Colony Collapse Disorder" plaguing bee populations. My research for the work leads me to a research paper published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies 2016, "How Rising CO2 Levels May Contribute to Die-Off of Bees" By Lisa Palmer. The research found rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere causes a dramatic reduction of protein in pollen over decades of burning fossil fuels. The lack of protein in this vital food source for honey bees has reduced their reproduction ability, this being a significant factor in colony collapse. Bees play an intricate role in providing men with approximately 60% of their food source.

My visual response in this work, "Colorless & Odorless," is based on the increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere, the use of fossil fuels in the manufacturing of disposable products, and the burning of the discarded plastic waste contributing to the rise in CO2 levels. The symbolic imagery used in my work relates to the impact of manufacturing disposable products in most people's homes. The realization for me is that I am part of this problem. work in progress

”Lady of the Snow" Painting Acrylic on Canvas by Edward Burke

"Lady of the Snow" Painting Acrylic on Canvas, 60" x 48" (Inspired by Terry Lennon's poem of the same title.)

“…We are drawn to her
peering through small white drifts
on a mullioned grid
into the faint ice blue of her belly,
 until, with cold chortle
she blows our world black….”

“Windswept" Graphite Pencil / Paper Study fo paintig Ed Burke

“Windswept" Graphite Pencil / Paper, 10.5" x 13" (Framed 19.5” x 22”).

"Windswept" Painting by Edward BurkeAcrylic/Canvas

"Windswept" Acrylic/Canvas, 30" x 40".

Painting by Edward Burke selected for the Katonah Museums Biennale Exhibit 2016.

“Plastic Sea" Acrylic/Canvas, 60" x 48".

"Plastic Sea" The pictorial content and composition of “Plastic Sea”* evolved from a documentary video detailing the serious impact of ocean pollution. The video with Anna Cummins, Executive Director and co-founder of 5 Gyres Institute, describes the massive amount of garbage that is floating around in the world’s oceans. Although they are not obvious massive islands as suggested by some media sources, the problem has become increasingly serious. The materials, mostly plastic, break down into plankton-size particles, many of which are then consumed by sea life. The destructive impact of this pollution is not restricted to sea life alone; we are now consuming our pollutants and the resulting toxins in seafood. The environmental problems we have created, as reported by Cummins (5 Gyres Institute),** continue to have a major impact upon the focus of my recent paintings. Plastic Sea is one of them.

* This work was selected for the Katonah Museums Biennale Exhibit 2016.

** Anna Cummins, Executive Director and co-founder of 5 Gyres Institute (Greater Los Angeles Area, April 2010).

"Plastic Carrier" Graphite drawing by Edward Burke

"Plastic Carrier" Graphite Pencil / Paper, 10.5" x 13" (Framed 19.5” x 22”).

"Poly-Net" Pencil drawing by Edward Burke,

"Poly-Net" Graphite Pencil / Paper, 10.5" x 13" (Framed 19.5” x 22”).

Untitled Drawing by Edward Burke

"Untitled Drawing" Graphite Pencil / Paper, 10.5" x 13" (Framed 19.5” x 22”).

Plastic Spring Water Acrylic painting by Edward A. Burke

"Plastic Spring Water" Acrylic / Canvas, 30" x 40"

"Landfill" Graphite Pencil drawing

"Landfill" Graphite Pencil / Paper, 10.5" x 13" (Framed 19.5” x 22”).

ntitled" Graphite Pencil  Drawing by Edward Burke

"Untitled" Graphite Pencil / Paper, 10.5" x 13" (Framed 19.5” x 22”).

"Untitled" Graphite Pencil / Paper, 10.5" x 13" (Framed 19.5” x 22”).

“In Out In" Acrylic painting on canvas

“In-Ou" Acrylic / Canvas, 60" x 48".

"In-Out" represents the importance of creating a balance that ensures what we remove from the earth is carefully replaced. This composition also depicts the precarious balance of forms. The mass of larger forms pressing inward on a smaller center form creates a tension, much the same principle found in an architectural arch using a keystone to hold the arch in place. The content of the painting uses organic and geometric shapes to convey narratives. The yellow center form seems to be held in place by the pressure and mass of the large forms pressing against it.

Untitled Drawing Graphite Pencil Drawing by Ed Burke

Untitled Graphite Pencil / Paper, 10.5" x 13" (Framed 19.5” x 22”).

"Byproduct" Acrylic Marker on Paper drawing by Edward Burke

"Byproduct" Acrylic Marker / Paper, 10.5" x 13" (Framed 19.5” x 22”).

"Product" Graphite Pencil drawing by Edward Burke

"Product" Graphite Pencil / Paper, 10.5" x 13" (Framed 19.5” x 22”).

"AmEx Card" Acrylic / Canvas,  30" x 40".

"Master Card" Acrylic / Canvas,  30" x 40".

"Visa Card" Acrylic / Canvas,  30" x 40".

"Credit Cards" The paintings above address our insatiable appetites for consuming a myriad of products at the expense of our environment. The iconic poster "Hope," as viewed on a mobile phone, "floats" among its surrounding images, depicting the quandary, "to manufacture or not to manufacture." The plastic Iron Man's apparent intrusion into the serene blue sky reflects our need for fresh air as it exists against our continual production of plastic goods. Such manufacturing may translate into economic growth in the short term, but how long can scientific facts be ignored and denied before we are forced to face their global consequences?

Is there hope? Perhaps. The dormancy of the three smokestacks symbolizes a sigh of relief from the greenhouse effect. The energy-efficient bulb contributes to cleaner air as well. Just a few examples, of course.

These are merely random thoughts meant to convey within my painting symbols of hope. From my perspective, against endless opposition, President Obama found a way to deal with the failing economy and inspire us to move forward alongside multiple nations to address these human and environmental challenges. He will be seen as one of our great presidents.

Copyright © 2020 Edward A. Burke              

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