WHEN THE WIND BLOWS – OISÍN BURKE
An exhibition by Oisin Burke as part of a research and residency exchange in association with Backwater Artists Group Cork.
In his art practice Oisín Burke explores feelings of unease and detachment brought about by changes to an immediate or local environment. This line of enquiry is informed by research on communities affected by external forces such as global climate change and industrial development, forces that change the composition of a location, thus creating a nostalgic sensitivity.
In an attempt to replicate these feelings in a gallery setting Burke creates sculptures using industrial and organic materials. The exact choice of material is driven by aesthetics, materiality and structural potential but also by metaphorical reasoning. Glass is fragile but it can be liquid and solid therefore reflecting a changing state of being. The use of steel is a direct reference to industry, however the artist uses its sculptural potential to create more organic, reaching and exploding forms, a three dimensional reflection of sporadic development, such as in the built environment.
The artist applies a further level of treatment to the resulting sculptural works by using lighting techniques inspired by German Expressionist cinema of the early twentieth century. This atmospheric lighting with its high contrast and strong elongated shadows serves to alter and confuse perception and create a sense of drama and anxiety.
Each sculpture and installation is born of a process of making that moves back and forth from the third and second dimensions. This begins with photography that in turn informs a maquette, which is then photographed with the resulting images inform drawings that are subsequently stitched into a canvas that acts as a blueprint for the final sculpture. This seemingly elaborate sequence of events instills a level of consideration that might be otherwise lost working with such organic forms.
Oisín Burke is a native of Dublin. Before relocating to Cork in 2014, he worked in layout and design in an educational publishing company for thirteen years. Having completed a number of art-related evening courses, he decided to further his studies in third-level education, and in 2014-18 he pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Contemporary Applied Art in ceramics, glass and textiles at the CIT Crawford College of Art and Design. During his studies he was selected to represent the college on a glass exchange programme in China at the Shanghai University of Art. Following the achievement of a first-class honours degree, he was awarded a residency in the CIT Crawford College of Art and Design for the academic year 2018-19. He was also the winner of the CIT Collection Purchase Prize and the Lilly Purchase Prize. He has exhibited in a variety of forms in Cork, Dublin, Paris, Vilnius and Tartu.
Backwater Artists Group is an artist-run not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving the working conditions and support structures for visual artists. Located in an old 3 story warehouse and former grainstore on Wandesford Quay in the heart of Cork City Centre, Backwater provides a stable and supportive environment for 45 artists, for the production of visual art and for the establishment of a professional art practice. Through the Studio 12 exhibition/project space, the organisation supports studio and non-studio artists and aim to increase collaboration and engagement with the wider artistic community and the general public through exhibition and outreach events.
This exhibition by Oisin Burke and artwork are informed by a residency and research carried out at GOMA in October 2019. The 2019 residency and subsequent exhibition in 2020 is part of an exchange with Backwater Artists Group as part of their 30 th Anniversary programme. Waterford-based artist and graduate Joseph Fogarty completed a similar residency in 2019 at Backwater ahead of a solo show in their exhibition space in February 2020.