Stephen Burke
Solo Residency Exhibition

Exhibition dates: 15—31 July 2021
Opening: Thursday, 15 July until 9PM

We are proud to present “Antenna”, the Solo Residency Exhibition by Stephen Burke, who has been working in the studio above the gallery space from March—July 2021.

Please join us for the Opening on Thursday, 15 July until 9 pm


Stephen Burke’s Solo Residency Exhibition “Antenna” is an exploration into the visual language of the public realm.  Stephen is an interpreter, a researcher and urban vagabond collecting the language of the anonymous and overlooked and bringing those signals into his studio, producing a body of work that is both quotation and reflection. Witnessing the mark-making hieroglyphics that riddle the urban experience is an intense and academic investigation for Stephen. Take a walk through London and have him interpret and explain the codified language of graffiti artists, but more intriguing and directly related to his studio practice are the marks of eradication that become the focus of his acute observational skills.   The ultimate abstraction of the erasure of the spray-painted marks of graffiti artists have a direct and parallel aesthetic to the giants of abstract painting, yet haven’t been elevated to the gallery walls. Only the sidewalk observer gets these works, until Stephen begins the translation process. He is masterful in producing mixed media pieces that are at once familiar because of the direct quotation of the urban experience. The study of glue residue, the layering of glazing, or the painterly effect of a poorly removed graffiti become the content of these paintings. 

Elevating the overlooked, the urban accidental sublime is what is at play in Stephen’s works. What is so rewarding is that through his discoveries and keen interpretive skills he manifests a body of works that gives the viewer a new relationship to their own journey through the city, a new way of seeing. 

Excitingly, Stephen has a new addition to his lexicon of urban linguistics that his residency time has allowed for — the urban furniture has become sculpture and fixture. The casual relationship the city dweller has with the tools of communication on the street are disrupted by Stephen’s insistence. Barriers are reborn, their toy-like quality, their colour schemes elevated once brought into the gallery. Tactile tiles, specifically designed for citizens that will only feel them become a visual focus and Stephen yet again successfully translates a ‘silent’ language and gifts the viewer the chance to see their environment anew. Prepare to have your way of experiencing your urban surroundings in an entirely new light by Stephen’s sensitive and intelligent practice that is producing great works that’s resonance broadcast beyond the gallery walls.

Stephen Burke is a visual artist from Dublin, Ireland and has been the 16th Solo Resident at Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop. He graduated with a B.A in Printmaking from NCAD in 2016 and went on to complete a Masters in Painting from the Glasgow School of Art in 2018. He co-authored a book entitled ‘Buff’, which investigates graffiti removal as an artistic process and was published with an accompanying exhibition at The Library Project, Dublin in 2017. ‘Buff’ was later translated into a documentary in collaboration with Irish filmmaker Sean Clarke, and was debuted at the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) in 2019 with the support of both Atelier Maser and Offset Festival. Later that year, Stephen completed a residency at Atelier Maser and displayed the resulting works at a solo show within the gallery. More recently, Stephen completed a six-month residency in Berlin with Urban Nation.

During this time he further developed the project ‘Post-vandalism’, which is accessible on social media and explores contemporary artworks that are linked to the aesthetics and concepts of graffiti.

Visits will follow COVID-19 regulations and can be booked in limited time-slots.