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29 October 2014

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Janus Head - Peter Burke
Janus Head - Peter Burke

Peter Burke @ Ale & Porter

Britains leading figurative sculptor, Peter Burke, heads to Ale & Porter Arts for their last exhibition...

Since opening its doors back in 2004 the Ale and Porter Arts Gallery, in Bradford-on-Avon, has more than proved itself to be right at the pointy end of contemporary art.

In the last year and half alone it has exhibited: a near life-size chocolate sculpture of Jesus on the cross; every morsel of food an opera singer has eaten in a year; platters of baked bread heads and snaps taken with a pinhole camera inside the mouth of a photographer. 

Peter Burke

It has transformed itself into an arts supermarket with cash tills, shopping trolleys, and jingles; sold china wishbones, paint-by-numbers wallpaper and tins of Peas on Earth; offered visitors sculptures of themselves in 'Sculpt Me' booths and was even rumoured to be behind the grassing over and letting loose of a flock of sheep in the middle of Bradford-on-Avon in the middle of the night.

In fact the gallery's programme of events has been so chic it has even had The Independent's Miles Kington enthusing that it "regularly puts on brilliant little shows which would be sensational if they were in London."

But in London they are not… which might go part of the way to explaining why one of the county's most innovative and surprising art galleries is announcing that it will be closing its doors for the very last time this spring.

Closing, that is, but not before it's put on a last exhibition which in true Ale and Porter style will be anything but… well predictable.

Peter Burke @ Ale and Porter

Peter Burke

It was last year that Peter Burke, one of Britain's leading figurative sculptors, exhibited a series of full-sized 'bread heads' at the gallery based on his famous work 'Janus Head'.

This year however, from Saturday February 3rd through to Saturday March 3rd, Peter Burke is returning with an exhibition that tracks his most exciting projects to date.

Trained as an engineer, and having worked a stint as an apprentice at Rolls Royce, Burke's massive outdoor works resemble an industrial designer's take on the human form.

Working with man-made materials, massive moulds and casting techniques Burke explores the form of his own body and limbs to create structures that have the stamp of mass-production and industrialisation.

'Assembly' for instance, commissioned by The Cass Foundation at Goodwood, is a massive 16 piece sculpture of gently rusting humanoid moulds gathered on the banks of the Thames at Woolwich Arsenal. Whilst 'Register', bought recently by the Berado Collection in Lisbon, is a 20 metre long, 10.5 ton installation of disconnected outstretched hands made up of 2,000 parts.

"Central to my work is the idea of the human presence," says Burke.  "I feel we have a predisposition to recognise and read the human form with an intensity that accords to no other visual activity."

The Ale & Porter Arts 'Peter Burke' Exhibition runs from Saturday 3rd February through to Saturday 3rd March.  The gallery is open: Tuesday to Saturday 10am – 5pm.Admission Free. For more information call 01225-868919.

last updated: 02/06/08
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