Artists Karen Burk and Peter Thompson celebrate the absence of colour through their work on display at Gallery 78, March 24 – April 16.
Karen Burk is really looking forward to her upcoming show at Gallery 78. And that says something, especially when you consider that Burk and her work have traveled the world from Medicine Hat, Alberta to Yixing, China and several points between.
Despite being one of the most “been there, done that” contemporary ceramic artists you’re likely to find, there are two big things that make her upcoming exhibit unique among her nearly four decades of creating: the lack of colour and the addition of photography by her good friend Peter Thompson.
“I’ve worked in ceramics for close to 40 years but I have a secondary secret passion for photography, particularly black and white photography, and especially photographs by my good friend and partner in this exhibition, Peter Thompson,” said Burk.
Gallery 78’s upcoming exhibit The Heart of the Matter: Explorations in Black and White, opens Friday March 24 and will run for three weeks. The exhibit will feature a number of works by both artists.
“I love the way that black and white and many shades of grey can abstract common images and invest them with emotional currency that is sometimes lost in the dominating glory of colour.”
Despite her years spent guiding students through ceramic’s many challenges as an instructor at New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, preparing the pieces for this exhibit presented Burk with a few creative challenges she had yet to explore.
“Colour is everything,” said Burk, whose work is largely characterized by its hand painted patterns and its yellows, blues, and greens. “In this show, I wanted to see my forms and imagery through the eyes of a black and white photographer to find out if there was more to be known there. I had to make many tests and changes to my approach to foreground, background and line quality and I think the platters, vases and bowls will rest happily with Peter’s stunning photographs.”
An experienced teacher and lecturer, Burk sums up her relationship to colour as one that can at times distract from a subject’s deeper qualities.
“I love the way that black and white and many shades of grey can abstract common images and invest them with emotional currency that is sometimes lost in the dominating glory of colour,” said Burk. “Peter and I have a favorite quote about this – ‘Colour is everything. Black and white is more’ (Dominic Rouse).
“Don’t get me wrong,” she said. “I still love colour and it will always be a part of my work. I ate my breakfast this morning on my yellow plate and drank my coffee from a turquoise mug.”
The Heart of the Matter: Explorations in Black and White | Karen Burk (ceramics) and Peter Thompson (photography), March 24 – April 16, 2017 at Gallery 78 | Fredericton | gallery78.com