Thomas Burke at Western Project
ArtUS, April - May 2004
by Eve Wood
Thomas Burke's show at Western Project in Los Angeles is comprised of paintings that seeth in a veritable hothouse of color, each painted so meticulously one gets the sense that Burke's artistic practice may even extend beyond perfectionism. Even so, the images he produces, painstakingly or not, are right on target.
Acrylic on metal, these paintings are most definately high maintence, yet they earn their keep. Burke's painterly concerns involve not only supreme craftsmanship, each grid formation painted with utter grace and style, yet what makes this imagery so unusual is the artist's understanding of color, and the dimensionality of space. Single flat surfaces rarely achieve a sense of distance and movement, yet with "Tainted Love," and the epic 24' x 120' inch "I Want You To Want Me," painting named after Soft Cell and Cheap Trick songs?, Burke's endlessly roving eye, and I mean this quiet literally in that the surfaces uldulate and buck, finds comfort in an odd brand of movement which is perfectly still.
It is oh so refreshing to see a young artist take the time to create and finish good work, and these elegant surfaces attest to Burke's obsession with detail and fine tuning. There is also a musicality to these images; the deep, sonorous reds hold within them a quiet more deliberate vibration whereas Burke's whites are stark and unforgiving as all great white should be.