© 2012 Ursula Burke
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).