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Sculpting Rugged Emotions

Rory Burke Returns to Milwaukee

Nov. 1, 2012
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UW-Milwaukee graduate Rory Burke invited close observation since completing her MFA in 2007. In five short years, her artistic career soared and she soon had a review in Sculpture Magazine and won the “Outstanding Scholastic Achievement Award” from the International Sculpture Center. The Milwaukee native returns with her first solo exhibition in several years at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts.

Burke’s fascination with the human head and bone structure, whether sculpted in large or miniature scale, inspires these prestigious accolades. Her rugged visages configure human emotion contrary to the visions of perfection from antiquity. Their raw, penetrating and complex facial features portray a three-dimensional German Expressionist angst.

After experimenting with solid figures, Burke began incorporating a clear or colored resin into her sculptures. The transparent material allowed Burke to insert found objects into her skulls’ now visible interiors. Radiant hues with reflective surfaces capture light, producing a glow from within the sculptures so the chosen objects trigger imaginative narratives upon viewing.

White skulls appeared in Burke’s oeuvre after completing an artist in residency in Lucerne, Switzerland, and two consecutive Arts/Industry Artist in Residencies at the John Michael Kohler Center for the Arts in Kohler, Wis. An ominous aura envelops her sculptures when cast as shards of broken bones or textured heads with scarred surfaces due to the possible symbolization that 21st century humanity is becoming more scarred.

Milwaukee’s Elaine Erickson Gallery and additional galleries in Chicago, Seattle, and Switzerland represent Burke. Her new exhibition, “Finite Differences,” opens Nov. 3 at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts. A free gallery talk by Burke will be held Nov. 9, 5:30-7 p.m.

(Register at rsvp@wilson-center.com; place Burke’s name in the subject line.)


Visual Art Happenings

“Creator and Character: Artists Interpret James Joyce”

“Collection Focus: Rosita Johanson”

Racine Art Museum

441 Main St.

RAM opened two new exhibitions on Oct. 21. One includes prints inspired by Irish author James Joyce and the other focuses on fiber artist Rosita Johnson, whose colorful, narrative textiles delight the eye. View both exhibits at the RAM’s Free First Friday on Nov. 2, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.




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