The Patterson Library Octagon Gallery is pleased to present the works of Rachael J. Burke “Of a Kind” to the public through an online exhibition. Two years ago, I contacted Ms. Burke to display her paintings in the gallery. Since then, the pandemic has affected how we interact with art exhibitions.  We have pivoted our gallery offering the artists to the public virtual presentations for a month-long on our website.

We hope that you continue to view and support our programs as we forge a new path. 

thank you, Nancy Nixon Ensign, curator

Rachael J. Burke

OF A KIND

“My most recent paintings convey a more positive relationship with nature. We all know the destructive side felt by climate change. I started to investigate the structures built to show our appreciation, respect, cooperation and support of natures importance. The first was a simple green house. After that, I began to study images of botanical gardens and arboretums. These areas and structures exist to admire, study and learn about exotic plants, trees, shrubs and flowers. My artists eye is drawn to the contrasts of mans hard edge architectural structures next to the sensual organic structures in nature. “

Rachael in her studio

“I wish to share the following quote by Robert Irwin: To be an artist is not a matter of making paintings or objects at all. What we are really dealing with is our state of consciousness and the shape of our perception..

“My most recent paintings convey a more positive relationship with nature. We all know the destructive side felt by climate change. I started to investigate the structures built to show our appreciation, respect, cooperation, and support of natures importance. The first was a simple greenhouse. After that, I began to study images of botanical gardens and arboretums. These areas and structures exist to admire, study and learn about exotic plants, trees, shrubs and flowers. My artists eye is drawn to the contrasts of mans hard edge architectural structures next to the sensual organic structures in nature. “

#1 Arboretum is one of four paintings that derive from my attention to structures built by man to admire and preserve exotic plants, trees, and shrubs.  Arboretums exist for scientific study and for educational purposes. This painting shows an altered portion of an enormous glass house. I am attracted to the extreme differences between the shapes and forms.

Oil on canvas, 44 x 44 inches, $3,000

#2 Flower Arboretum is just that. Some structures are built to study flowers in addition to trees, plants and shrubs. I use expressive and invented color in addition to some descriptive colors.

Oil canvas, 44 x 44 inches, $3,000

#3 Indoor Gardens shows a larger view of plant arrangements that appear to dance through the arboretum. I am not specific about where the arboretums are located since my interpretations are constructs of several images, producing something new.

Oil on panel, 36 x 36 inches, $2,000

#4 Green House looks at mans relationship to nature in a more personal and small scale. I embrace the balancing act between purposeful, thoughtful moves and simultaneous outbursts of impulses and intuition. For me, painterliness and a gestural approach captures something in the making that is unsettled, shifting, or constantly evolving. Nature represents what I strive for in all of my paintings which is a sense of palpable energy and flux, more continual than final. 

Oil on panel, 30 x 30 inches, SOLD

#5 Far Away so Close represents my observations of plants and flowers in my immediate surroundings. My process engages abstract formal structures with overall narrative implications. I deal with doing and undoing, accumulation and violation, or becoming and dismantling. Just as we struggle to find our place and position in our environment and the world, the elements in my paintings battle for their place and position within the format.  What remains is of importance.

Oil on canvas, 40 x 30 inches, SOLD

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#6 Quiet Before the Storm was painted after viewing the changes in foliage during the transition from spring to fall. I saw new color peeping through in an area of shade that felt almost reluctant to change.

Oil on canvas, 46 x 46 inches, $3,000

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#7 Natures Cathedral expresses what I see and feel when I walk the woods looking up towards the sky. The trees look majestic as they reach for the light. I felt a hopeful presence that seemed to hover around me.

Oil on panel, 36 x 36 inches, $2,000

#8 Passage was painted to capture the impact and experience more than the seen descriptive details. I tether abstract visual language to reality for the purpose of capturing the essence of my initial impression of reality. This painting was done with fewer changes and layers than most of the other works. Many of my other paintings were worked on for weeks and even months, producing thick layers of paint and a more tactile surface.

Oil on panel, 30 x 30 inches, $1,200

#9 Through the Woods was painted with the same process and attitude as Passage, painting #8.

Oil on panel, 24 x 30 inches, $1,200

#10 An Abundance of Riches was more about collaged thoughts than images. I rapidly consumed and collected information from various viewpoints. I wanted to paint the sum of my mental journey. 

Oil on panel, 30 x 30 inches, $1,200

#11 In the Distance was derived from repeatedly observing the entrance to my house from the far end of my front yard.

Oil on panel 36 x 48 inches, $2,200

#12 Sapling came about after I read a book about trees that intrigued me. Adult trees often support the sapling by surrounding it to feed it through their roots. This strengthens it during fragile  times due to temperature, changing seasons, or predators. I saw this lovely young tree taking center stage between many larger trees and I chose to paint this relationship.

Oil on panel, 36 x 48 inches, $2,200

#13  Bare Bones describes the trees in the woods before the leaves fill in all the spaces. I love seeing the underlying structure of the trees instead of always admiring the lushness and fullness of the spring greens. I was able to see the cast shadow patterns on the ground before everything was covered up and filled in by foliage.

Oil on canvas, 46 x 46 inches, $3,000

#14 Overcast was what I saw many mornings through my front window looking out towards the woods to the north. I thought the misty air created subtle colors that I found beautiful. I was taken with the way two trees emerged through the fog, creating a distinct presence.

Oil on panel, 24 x 36 inches, $1,200

#15  Beyond the Here and Now came form observing the woods to the south of my property through the trees and plants in my back yard.  I found it visually delightful looking at some tree bark up close in contrast with the light and deeper space in the background. This is a large painting that I battled for several months.

Oil on canvas, 54 x 60 inches, $4,250

#16 Falls Drama takes in multiple views of the surrounding landscape in an effort to capture a combination of elements in one large painting. It is always fun and challenging to do this on a large scale.

Oil on canvas, 66 x 54 inches, $4,500

#17 Renewal was painted after walking around on a breezy day. The constant movement of everything, the shifting, flux and aliveness was what I wanted to paint. The next few paintings stress my interest in the raw energy of nature. I see the use of red paint as a way of breathing life through the painting as though the lines and marks are the veins and arteries of what I see connecting all elements before me.  I am most interested in capturing a sense of impermanence. My sensibilities lean towards that which feels unsettled, something constantly changing, evolving, quivering, ungraspable and palpitating with aliveness.  I like the notion of capturing something coming into being and decaying at the same time, which happens constantly in nature.

Oil on panel 36 x 36 inches, Art Collection of Erie Insurance

#18 Sunset Orange came about one early evening while noticing the flickering orange branches. Appearing very abstract, I especially noticed the horizontal directionality of the branches more than the verticality of the trees. Oil on panel, 36 x 36 inches, NFS

#19 Raw Energy was one of the paintings I made based on the vines in the woods. Entangled and woven throughout, they created something that appeared to me like a tapestry.

Oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches, $4,000

#20 Pathway is looking towards a path that we created for an easier way through the woods, even though it is far from established in its depiction.

Oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches, Art Collection of Erie Insurance

#21 Spring Gestures is a result of seeing bursts of vibrant color throughout the Fall season. I painted the visual memories of what lingered with me over time.

Oil on panel, 30 x 30 inches, $1,200

 #22 Spring Greens was painted from a series of tree tops that peeped out above the rooftop of my house. I was attracted to the variety of greens from a distance even though I interrupted them more abstractly by filling the format with marks that appear closer.

Oil on panel, 36 x 36 inches, $2,000

#23 Looking Up is an example of a transitional work done at the same time as continuing to paint the figure. I decided to include a few paintings of exteriors that were painted before moving away even further from using the human form as the dominate subject of my paintings.  These buildings were painted from photographs that I took after a trip to New York.

Oil on panel, 30 x 30 inches, Art Collection of Erie Insurance

#24 Near the Water is a complex painting that came about from a large accumulation of images, thoughts, and memories. 

Oil on canvas, 60 x 66 inches, Art Collection of Erie Insurance

#25 Boundless Territory was painted due to my longing for a sense of vast space, very different from my approach to filing the surface of the canvas to avoid a traditional sense of deep perspectival space. 

Oil on canvas, 66 x 54 inches, Art Collection of Erie Insurance

#26 What Remains was actually titled as such since I painted a number of structures before simplifying them to more minimal shapes and colors.

Oil on canvas, 44 x 46 inches, Art Collection of Erie Insurance

#27 Cradled in the Fields is another piece that came from viewing dozens of images to create a new one. It is one of several paintings I produced to stress the varied patterns in nature.

Oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches, Art Collection of Erie Insurance

Videos

https://www.facebook.com/GlassGrowersGallery/videos/rachael-burke-talking-about-her-art/559388807964160/

 

 

Rachael J. Burke Biography

Rachael J. Burke was born Rachael Deborah Jacobs in Pottstown, PA in 1954. She is a Professor of Art at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania where she began teaching full-time in 1990. Burke received her MFA in Painting from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1983 and a BFA from Western Kentucky University in 1977. Before 1990, she taught part-time at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and Miami University.

She has had numerous solo exhibitions in galleries, museums and universities, including the following: The Erie Art Museum, Erie PA; The LOWE Gallery, Atlanta, GA; Gallery 937, Pittsburgh, PA; Yvonne Rapp Gallery, Louisville, KY; Malton Gallery, Cincinnati, OH. and Mercyhurst College Erie, PA.

Her exhibition list also includes participation in shows at The Butler Institute of American Art, Carnegie Museum of Art, The Chautauqua Art Institute, Evansville Museum of Arts and Science, J.B. Speed Museum, Owensboro Museum of Fine art, Headley Whitney Museum, and The Museum of Art of Ogunquit, Maine. She has received numerous awards and honors and her work is in many public and private collections.

RACHAEL J. BURKE/ Rachael J. Harper before 2003

EDUCATION

1983                                       M. F. A. in Painting, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

1977                                       B.F.A. in Painting, Western Kentucky University        

1979-80                                 Attended Northern Kentucky University        

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

1990-2016                            Professor of Art, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

1984-90                                 Instructor, Art Academy of Cincinnati, Ohio

SELECTED ONE-PERSON EXHIBITIONS

2019                                       Glass Growers Gallery Erie, PA

2004                                       Erie Art Museum, Erie, PA

1999                                       Cummings Gallery, Mercyhurst College, Erie, PA

1997                                       Gallery 937, Pittsburgh, PA

1996                                       LOWE Gallery, Atlanta, GA

1995                                       LOWE Gallery, Atlanta, GA

1991                                       Yvonne Rapp Gallery, Louisville, KY

SELECTED INVITATIONAL AND GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2010                                       Erie Art Museum, Erie, PA

2003                                       Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Lublin, Poland

1990                                       Headley Whitney Museum, Lexington, KY

1999                                       Adams Gallery, Dunkirk, New York

1989                                       Museum of Art of Ogunquit, Ogunquit, Maine

1985                                       College of Mount Saint Joseph, Cincinnati, Ohio

RECENT JURIED EXHIBITIONS

2010                                       100th Annual Exhibition, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA

2009 73rd National Mid-year, Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH

2008                                       51st Annual Chautauqua National Exhibition of American Art, NY

SELECTED AWARDS AND HONORS

2008                                       Fellowship in painting, Pa Council on the Arts”

2005                                       Best of Show Award, 82nd Annual Spring Show, Erie Art Museum, PA

2002                                       My painting, Silent Life Forms was selected and reproduced for

                                                the cover of What is Ancient Philosophy by Pierre Hadot, Harvard University Press

2001                                      91st Annual AAP Exhibition, Carnegie Museum of Art Award and

                                                Friends of the Art for Public Schools Purchase Award

2000                                       77th Annual Spring Show, Erie Art Museum, Juror’s Award

2000 and 1998                     New American Painting, Exhibition in print

1991                                       34th Chautauqua National, Received the Chautauqua Institute Award   

Rachael J. Burke.
7575 Hamot Road, Erie, PA 16509 | 631 Parade Street Erie, PA 16503
PHONE: (814) 732-1147 E-MAIL: rburke@edinboro.edu

Octagon Gallery 2021 exhibitions will be virtual

July 2 – July 30   Healing Burnout Guide, a virtual exhibition, author & artist talk, and book launch

August 6 – September 3   NSAA Art Trail Artists -Come See us on Labor Day Weekend, a virtual exhibition

September 10 – October 8   The Photographs of Jill Santi, a virtual exhibition

October 15 – November 12   Chautauqua Society of Artists Members Exhibition, a virtual exhibitition

November 19 – December 31   The Art of Kimberly Turner, an in-person exhibition 

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