Ursula Burke

An immersive exhibition of recent works by visual artist Ursula Burke entitled A False Dawn opens today February 7 in the Ulster Museum.  

Internationally renowned artist Ursula Burke, originally from Co. Tipperary, works with a variety of media including porcelain sculpture, embroidery sculpture and drawing.  

Much of her art practice deals with issues of representation and identity, exploring abuses of power in both social and political spheres. Having worked for many years in Belfast, Ursula often takes a post-conflict Northern Irish context as a critical point of departure to approach international concerns.  

The new exhibition complements the Ulster Museum’s commitment to displaying Troubles-related art and follows an earlier display during the Art of the Troubles exhibition in 2014 of Ursula Burke’s porcelain sculpture, “Bonfire”.  

Press Eye – Belfast – Northern Ireland – 7th February 2020 –
Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Senior Curator of Art at National Museums NI, Kim Mawhinney, comments that the exhibition strengthens National Museums NI’s position by showing one of the most important, contemporary, Irish female artists, whose work relates to both increasing global political concerns and our post conflict society. Kim says: “Ursula’s work is international in stature and this exhibition not only fulfils National Museums NI’s commitment to bringing the best national and international art exhibitions to the Ulster Museum and Northern Ireland, but also allows us to show, in international partnership, the work of one of Ireland’s most thought provoking artists.”   

Kim adds: “The complex artworks in A False Dawn explore the hidden impacts of hope and reality in a post-conflict society. In the gallery nothing is quite what it seems, for example, the beautiful classical looking porcelain busts show damage and bruising on closer inspection.” 

The exhibition of new and recently made work by Ursula Burke has been curated and organised in partnership with National Museums NI and the Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris. The new work for this exhibition has been researched and made during her residency at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris. 

Key highlights in the exhibition include a sculpture made specifically for the Ulster Museum exhibition titled, ‘Blue’ which is a blue sphinx sculpture that greets visitors at the door. Other pieces such as the ‘Wounding’ and ‘Augury of the Birds’ are large scale ambitious works.  

Ursula Burke comments: “I am very happy indeed to be working with Kim Mawhinney, the Ulster Museum and their incredible team on this exhibition. Much of my sculptural work uses Parian porcelain as a material approach and the genesis of this came from a visit to the museum’s porcelain collection many years ago, where I saw an exquisite piece of Parian porcelain sculpture. That material choice continues to have a significant impact in the creation of my work and my career to date. It’s truly great to situate this body of work within eyesight of its initial conception. It is also wonderful to have the work return to the specific context of Northern Ireland from which much of the conceptual framework of this work was formed. “  

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