Pete Burke paintings

Dimensional and geometric paintings

These dimensional and geometric paintings by Pete Burke evolved after he had spent years photographing London’s construction sites.  What started off as a fascination with building site viewing windows (peepholes) as framing devices – gradually developed a secondary role as an archive of the changing face of our city.  His photographs were abstract and painterly, the building site interventions were structural and also painterly. Pete decided it was time to go down a purely painterly path.

His rationale was to keep it simple limiting himself to using only pencil, paint, and paper. These limitations would encourage expansion, experimentation and invention.

‘There is something quite seductive and satisfying about mixing paint around on a flat surface, you only need to look at the free bold brushwork of Velázquez to feel this energy.  And there is a magic when you mix liquid colours which then set to reveal the very moment of their own creation. It is a kind of alchemy.  I also knew pencil marks would be a good compliment to the visceral intensity of the paint and if I kept it linear could suggest volume and allow the works a bit of breathing space. I wanted in some way to amplify these sensibilities, for the drawings to refer to the elemental aspects of the medium as much as to what they suggested and alluded to pictorially and emotionally in colour and form’. 

These resulting drawings are a continuation of his photographs. A central form surrounded with a framework of shapes.  They are full of contrasts and opposites. Blocks of colour are surrounded with delicate linear aspects. The paint applied in swift movements while the pencil work is meticulously worked out and drawn across the surface with varying degrees of pressure to articulate character of line and depth.  There are reference points like floor plans, advertising hoardings, graffiti, reflections, boundaries, and most importantly our own internal conversations.  And although they refer to architectural forms, they’re not only about architecture, more about the experience of moving through the architectural landscape, our relationship to the built environment and the people around us. Our sense of place, our orientation, our experience of existing here and now.

Find out more about dimensional and geometric paintings by Pete Burke