Demetri Burke recently graduated this fall with a B.F.A. in drawing, painting and printmaking at the Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design.
With portraiture at the core of his practice, Burke talks about his B.F.A. Senior Thesis Exhibition, why this genre captivates him, and the nuanced layers that unfold before the viewer. Burke uses mixed media including charcoal, acrylic paint and found images to express narratives of identity and race. Abstraction, montage and realistic rendering are key parts of his creative process.
His body of artwork is diverse and fluid, never fully standing still for too long. Sometimes the focus is intensely on the Black figure. Other times, he builds layer after layer to create murky images of nostalgia in a southern lens.
“At the end of the day, I’m interested in Blackness and showcasing people who look like me and articulating their experiences.”
During the 2019 Art Basel week in Miami, Burke showcased his work in the YoungArts alumni group show, “Within Interdependence” curated by Deanna Haggag of United States Artists. He is a recipient of the 2020 Juried Student Exhibition Award by Larry and Gwen Walker in honor of Cassana Wood-Walker. In 2019, Burke was awarded first place at the Georgia State University Juried Ethics Week Exhibition.