David Bierk

David Bierk

1944 – 2002

David Bierk was born in 1944 in Appleton, Minnesota and earned his MFA at Humboldt State University, California. In 1971, he immigrated to Peterborough, Ontario. He exhibited with the Diane Farris Gallery for 10 years.

Bierk’s post-modern paintings explore the juxtaposition of the traditional with the unconventional. His quest for beauty and the tension between the temporal and the eternal are recurring themes. Using images of voluptuous table settings, flowers, landscapes, fragments of text and replications of famous artworks, he examined concepts of history, memory, art history, evolution and eternity.

Bierk was one of the first artists to adopt appropriation as a legitimate means to art-making. He incorporated copies of imagery by artists like daVinci, Caravaggio, Church, Constable, Fantin-Latour, Manet and Vermeer in steel and concrete panels, setting up a tension between humanism and the craftsmanship of the Old Masters on one hand, and modernist abstraction and industrial fabrication on the other. The frames act both as barriers to the illusionist worlds within and as “sanctuaries” for their conservation. Bierk openly dedicated his paintings to the memory and spirit of his predecessors, but his paintings continue to prompt philosophical reflections on art, modern culture and history.

Bierk exhibited extensively across North America. His work can be found in numerous museum and corporate collections including the Art Gallery of Ontario, National Gallery of Canada, Canada Council Art Bank and the Harvard Law School.