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Surfaces and textures inform the work of Matthew Burke’s sculpture, particularly those that reference forces of nature, such as geologic movement or ocean swells. He says, “Any surface is a structural compromise between an outer and inner environment. My work represents the barrier between two realities — what meets the eye vs. what lies beneath.”

Burke’s forms confront the viewer as physical objects that ask to be read and decoded. He says, “When confronted with objects of mass, a tree or building for example, our first reading is of a thing, not as a symbol of a thing. My work, however, is displayed on walls, the usual venue for symbols like signs or words. Seeing my forms, one may think, ‘boats, shells, seedpods — vessels.’ But these are references the viewer brings to the work; I don’t build with strict ideas in mind.”

Of his creative process, Burke says, “Studio time, where desire and reality meet, determines the trajectory of my work. I’m enchanted with the act of making — measuring, scraping, sawing, chopping; these acts are the creative process made visible. I am interested in technique only to better realize my bulging and stacked forms.”

Matthew Burke holds a BA from Colby College and an MFA in Sculpture from Queens College/CUNY. He has had numerous oneperson shows and has participated in several group shows including: PS1 MoMA, Queens, NY; the Hopper House Art Center, Nyack, NY; and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. His work is in several major museums and collections, including, the Museum of Modern Art Library, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Cleveland Institute of Art Library. He teaches sculpture and 3-D design at St. John’s University.

Babbidge Library, Stevens Gallery
Curator: Jane Recchio