AFTER Jeff, Alex, Nick, Charlie and David Bierk
Saturday June 28, 2014 - 12am to 12am
In presenting the work of Alex, Jeff, Nick, and Charlie Bierk we celebrate the careers of four young artists who happen to be born and raised in Peterborough. Theirs is a shared family story of growing up in a home devoted to art and art making, yet each has their very distinct experience and way of working. Growing up surrounded by the work of their father David Bierk and in an environment of creative people has had a profound influence on their practices.
None shies away from the honest portrayal of real life experience. Perhaps it is their shared past and their past shared with so many extended family friends and public that allows them to be so open and unfettered in their own artistic voices.
Alex Bierk’s recent body of powerful work reflects on past addictions and questions of identity. Jeff Bierk’s photographic series of street people is a raw insight into the lives few us want to look at but are drawn into through the sheer sensitivity he has used with his lens. The paintings of Nick Bierk are enigmatic; the gaze, the ordinary landscape, invites us to imagine beyond what we see. Charlie Bierk’s portrait paintings are beyond question, exacting in observation and detail, seemingly an intimate view to the soul of subject.
The artworks by Alex, Jeff, Nick, and Charlie are shown alongside works of their father, David Bierk. David very deliberately and thoughtfully taught his sons about art and each of them has had individual experiences making art with their father. This is a rare opportunity to understand the integral nature of his practice in relation to that of his sons, and reflect on the influence of his work on the next generation of painters.
This story goes beyond immediate family with impact on the cultural community of Peterborough. David Bierk was not only an extraordinary artist; he also established the artist-run centre ARTSPACE and was its Director for the first thirteen years. His determination to establish a flourishing art scene was supported by many other artists who shared his passion and has contributed to the vibrant community we enjoy today. The Art Gallery of Peterborough was established the same year and our story is also entwined with that of David Bierk as he contributed to our board, was featured in exhibitions and publications, and is now a key artist represented in our Permanent Collection.