What a versatile collection of work but with attention to detail carried through all the forms.
RHA – Ursula Burke The Precariat
Burke uses traditional, perhaps dated, art styles with an utterly modern take. Present day scenes of conflict within a conference room setting, knocked over chairs, suited and booted male aggression all grounded literally by the threads to the floor.
The collection of porcelain busts too combined the old (style) with the new (models). Each model had some form or disfigurement and in response, I had written the word ‘violent ends’ in my journal. I was pleased to learn afterward that the collection was called ‘wounds’ so I’m on the right track. What was interesting was the pieces came replete with their deformities – the missing nose or chin, visual impairment and so on. We’re so used to seeing busts and bodies with missing limbs that have been lost through the centuries. The losses in this collection were not as a result of the passage of time but to the violent times in which they were conceived and created.
The Augury of the Birds, a spectacularly large site-specific drawing, is both beautiful and bleak in equal measure. I found it hard to take my eyes off it from any angle even including the hallway outside. Althea brought my attention to the bleeding birds and fruits, a detail I had missed. I had just got the overall sense of an ending or bad omen but hadn’t picked at the detail.
A response in haiku:
people in the north
often meet violent ends
even the birds bleed.
Theatre was my first love. It all started with the One-Act and 3-Act AmDram festivals in our local theatre to get out of the house to smoke cigarettes on school nights. It wasn’t long before I had graduated onto the Class As in the Abbey, Peacock, Project, Tivoli and even more fringe events and locations. It’s physical. Being present with the cast, the crew, the soundscape of mutters, coughs, and gasps from the audience; the dust, the set, the murmur murmur hum before curtain. Pure energy. I can forgive anything — set, direction, costumes, props, performance — except bad writing.
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