Ursula Burke’s work explores abuses of power in many realms of the social and political in the West. Often, taking a Northern Irish context as a critical point of departure from which to generalise her approach outwards to international concerns. Formally, her work appropriates tropes deeply invested in the Classical, and re-inserts them in the contemporary, aiming to create a conceptual bridge between the Classical ‘ideal’ (in form/society) and the ‘reality’ of contemporary post-conflict Northern Irish society. The Precariat brings together a suite of work that seeks to investigate the experience of insecurity, fast becoming a universal condition as we struggle to subsist in an impoverished and increasingly unstable civil society, in which personal solutions are prescribed to global problems.
I was in college with Ursula in the 90s (I doubt she remembers me, she was in third year when I was in first) and she was a hugely engaged student, and I vividly remember her activism in the Art Department leading to the eventual migration to the specialised art campus of Cluain Mhuire in Wellpark. She was a very inspiring figure and spoke up for all of us. I’m looking forward to seeing her work in the Galway Arts Centre.