Suburban Shadows

Mary Burke is a visual artist based in Dublin, whose subject matter centres on interpretations of the suburbs.

This work consists of a series of oil pastels depicting shadows cast on both the interiors and exteriors of suburban houses both day and night. There is an interesting duality that occurs with shadow. Shadow can help to define but also dissolve form. Familiar images can be broken down into abstract planes and patterns and yet still remain recognizable. Something very familiar can begin to appear quite unfamiliar when examined closely.

There is no direct human presence except in the form of the viewer. Human activity is only suggested by the parked cars or perhaps by a cast shadow or a light in a window or doorway. Shadows in particular can help to create atmosphere and that atmosphere can feel either safe or sinister depending how the viewer perceives it. There is a potential narrative in each painting, which is defined by the viewer. The viewer almost becomes a voyeur wondering what is happening behind each of those closed doors. Inside can be equally mysterious. Our homes become extensions of our lives. Our personalities, interests and obsessions are reflected in our possessions and choice of décor. Every room can tell a story. There is a possible real life soap opera behind each hall door. Equally those rows of net curtained and Venetian-blinded windows could be concealing an observer looking out at the road or attempting to view what is happening behind the window of a house across the street.

One Response to “Suburban Shadows”

  1. […] by Mary Burke can be viewed on the Cultures of the Suburbs website. Cultures of the Suburbs is an international Research Network established in 2011 and […]