Brian Burke

Press & Blogs
oil on canvas

IN MEMORY of our dear friend and a remarkable artist


 Born: Aug. 5, 1952 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (PEI)

Died: Dec. 19, 2017 in Murray Harbour, Prince Edward Island (PEI)

“Brian was one of the most extraordinary artists to have come out of PEI.”

“I have long admired Brian’s figurative paintings, which are both beautiful and dark. Burke was a genius at capturing psychological states of being through minimal means. Using thin washes of smoky colour, he created stark vignettes of brooding isolation, estrangement, and loneliness. I always wondered where these images came from.

…But in addition to its resonating content, Brian’s work is just great painting.”

Terry Graff, former Director CEO Beaverbrook Art Gallery; former Director and Chief Curator, Confederation Centre Art Gallery, 2017

“My paintings are not about me; they are about you.”

Brian Burke, 2016

“Painting for me is an activity not unlike playing jazz. With jazz I require interaction with other people to find that state where I am, in effect, watching myself play. If all is going well I can achieve a similar “state of grace” while in the act of painting. I paint to find that space. The resultant painting doesn’t make the viewer privy to any great “truth”. He is the same as one who listens to music– he is afforded the opportunity to retrace the artist’s steps and become an interpreter. This activity is the audiences’ source of gratification,” Brian Burke.

Brian Burke was one of Canada’s foremost figurative painters. His paintings often consider basic questions of contemporary society, sometimes by poking fun. One commentator and friend, John Greer, says that Burke’s paintings are a result of courageously looking into the abyss of “What does it mean to be human?” Burke’s images speak about human responses to this face-to-face encounter with infinity. They are not about finding answers but rather about how to face – or not to face – the who and why we are, what we are and why we respond to the world in the way we do. [John Greer is a sculptor of international reputation, whose retrospective “retroactive” was at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia April to September 2015.]

Born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (PEI), Burke studied design at Holland College (1971-73), and Fine Art at Nova Scotia College of Art & Design (1974). He lived in PEI and Switzerland. Burke’s work was supported by the PEI Council of the Arts and the Canada Council for the Arts. It has been exhibited in numerous public galleries in group and solo exhibitions and at international art fairs and is in many collections in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Burke completed a commission for the Confederation Centre Art Gallery (PEI) in 2005. Public collections include, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax; Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Charlottetown; Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredricton; Kunstmuseum Luzern, Lucerne; Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa; Global Affairs Canada, Ottawa; Bank of Nova Scotia, Toronto; TD Bank, Charlottetown. in 2019 Confederation Centre Art Gallery presented a Retrospective with an extensive catalogue publication about Brian Burke’s work, his paintings.



Oct 24 2019 - Oct 27 2019

Suddenly It Was As If Nothing Happened

Oct 18 2019 - Nov 13 2019

Pre-Used Paper

Mar 9 2018 - Apr 4 2018

Art Toronto 2017

Oct 27 2017 - Oct 30 2017

Go Figure

Sep 15 2017 - Oct 11 2017

Art Toronto 2016

Oct 27 2016 - Oct 31 2016

Winter Group Exhibition

Dec 16 2016 - Feb 1 2017
Item Title

Twos for You

Published Mar 15 2018 by

A client of ours was in the gallery recently and chose a couple of interesting small artworks to buy. She told us that her architect brother had once instructed her that she should never have two things side-by-side. It is the conventional wisdom that it is preferable to hang odd numbers of artworks together, rather…

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Item Title

IN MEMORY of our dear friend and a remarkable artist

Published Jan 10 2018 by Deborah Carver

BRIAN BURKE Born: Aug. 5, 1952 in Charlottetown PEI Died: Dec. 19, 2017 in Murray Harbour PEI Over the last several years, we have travelled to PEI annually. We have combined in these trips PEI sight-seeing and good eating; but always the main attraction was visiting Brian Burke and Judith Scherer his wife to see…

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Item Title

On the Horizon: Go Figure

Published Sep 7 2017 by Director, Deborah Carver

A group exhibition exploring figure and featuring new pieces from gallery artists Brian Burke, Michael Harrington and Marcus Jones is the subject matter of the next exhibition at Studio 21, running from September 15 through to October 11, 2017. In contrast to abstract art, figurative art is a diverse category that ranges from realism to…

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Studio 21