John Burke was born in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary in 1946. He studied at the Crawford School of Art, an subsequently at St. Martin's School of Art, London, the home of abstract steel sculpture in Britain. Here he studied with Kneale, and was influenced by Anthony Caro and Philip King. As a teacher in sculpture in the School of Art in Cork, he had a formative influence on a young generation of abstract steel sculptors in Cork (eg. Vivienne Roche, Eilis O'Connell and Jim Buckley).
His own work in steel began by utilising pieces of metal from scrap yards. His steel sculpture is often painted in bright industrial colours. Among his large-scale outdoor abstract sculptures are his constructions outside the Bank of Ireland headquarters in Dublin, and at the Wilton Roundabout, Cork.
Ref: Contemporary Irish Art by Roderic Knowles, 1982 (Wolfhound Press)
Cork Art Now '85 Crawford Art Gallery, Cork 1985.
Exhibition catalogue by Vera Ryan