Culture desk

Curios About: Harrison Row (East Wall) by Stephen Burke

Harrison Row (East Wall) By Stephen Burke Oil and emulsion on 1mm steel, 2.5 x 3.3 feet

1. This work is about … the repressed creative desires of many people who inhabit Dublin. The specific role I’m looking at is the removal of graffiti from public spaces. The paintings created over these scrawls tend to replicate the aesthetic of minimalism and abstract expressionism, and seem to show a creative flair emerging from the human psyche. This imagery has informed my own paintings, including this diptych.

2. I made this work because … I believe there is true artistic merit in these graffiti-removal paintings, which goes undetected by both the author and the public. I am trying to draw awareness to these graffiti erasures by constructing paintings made of the most common forms and palettes of specific areas, and using the final product as a representation of the collective realised artistic desires of many of the workers in that location.

3. I hope when people see this work they will … take more notice of their surroundings and allow themselves to be drawn into new urban terrain by the attractions these places possess. The psychogeography of East Wall is what has informed these paintings and I’d hope people would want to explore these areas in search of similar inspiration after viewing them.

4. In terms of art history, this work … These pieces have a technical similarity to minimalism and abstract expressionism, but are based on public paintings that are probably closer to forms of outsider art or anti-art like Dada.

5. You can see my work … on my Instagram account, here.

[Editor’s note: these two paintings were exhibited as part of the IN PLACE project on Tara Street recently.]

“Curios About …” is a series featuring works by Dublin artists. Each artist is asked to submit an image of one work and answer a set of questions about it. We’d love it if you’d submit something you’ve made, here.

Sam Tranum portrait
Sam Tranum

Sam Tranum is deputy editor of Dublin Inquirer. He's been a newspaper reporter, a newspaper editor, an assistant professor of journalism, an author and a book editor, among other things. You can follow him @samtranum.

 

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