Piers Bourke is ‘Flying Home’
Contemporary artist Piers Bourke, famous for his colourful and playful renderings of British material icons, has taken his work in a new, exciting and beautiful direction. Having spent the last few years living in Singapore and travelling back and forth from Asia, ‘Flying Home’ takes its inspiration from Korean contemporary art, Chinese calligraphy and Singapore’s stunning aesthetic, as well as the bewildering experience of travelling across the globe. In his words “‘Flying Home’ reflects and tells the story of this exciting time.” This 18 piece exhibition takes place this November at a private Mayfair property on Adam’s Row.
Bourke’s passion as an artist is drawn from his love and respect for his geographical heritage. This has resulted in almost sculptural collages, building up layers of digital and concrete material to celebrate the multi-cultural and the complex beauty of the everyday. Today, he has replaced technicolour postboxes and pop-art stamps with a return to the purity of paint and pigment. He delicately treads a path between modern and ancient techniques and materials. As he says “I found myself at a crossroads between previous ways of working and absorbing a new mentality around me.”
Bourke moved to South East Asia in 2014. The relocation deepened a pre-existing fascination with local culture and design, and resulted in a love and admiration for Korean contemporary art, with its unique quality and texture. This was combined with a new understanding of societal differences in mentality and outlook, which similarly influenced his work. Thus, Bourke has developed new techniques and styles.
The exhibition includes several series, each with a distinctive appearance and technique. The ‘Free as a Bird Series’ for example, began with pre-existing collages, to which Bourke added layers of depth and complexity, eventually achieving a twisted ribbon effect by cutting, reassembling and digitally reproducing the images for a second time.
Two large-scale series, ‘Fan Works’ and ‘Time Zone Explosions’ master totally new approaches for Bourke, and exemplify his deft ability to incorporate traditional techniques and materials. Created over several years, ‘Time Zone Explosion’, explores the planned chaos of cross-timezone travel. At once continuous and disjointed, the frenetic energy of the pieces reflects the state of mind experienced by Bourke as a result of his new transient lifestyle. The pieces were created by fixing a baton to the centre of watercolour paper, embodying precision and planning, before rapid strokes were added, that erupt in frenetic energy and capture chaos, while simultaneously evoking Chinese calligraphy and South East Asian landscapes.
Similarly, inspired by Korean artists, including Lee Ufan and Kwon Young-Woo (see above), Bourke crafted his ‘Fan Series’ by employing traditional Asian techniques to craft a tribute to the iconic sweeping shape. Replacing paintbrushes with long wooden blocks, Bourke was able to sweep pure pigment across the paper to create organic and textured works that convey a strikingly free and bold image. And so, Bourke has expanded his love for his geographical heritage to include his new home, and just as he unveiled the beauty of telephone boxes, Bourke translates his own artistic experience of Asia to his fortunate viewers.