Bourke is a painter who values the aesthetic and emotional potential of a rich and varied material surface left as a trace of the process of creation. A good painting is as much a depiction, as it is a history of the artist’s observations, decisions and judgments: a pentimenti of the process of creation. He uses the encaustic medium because its working properties support transparency of process and amplify physical presence.
Bourke depicts simple acts occurring in brief measures of time; the flash of a match, the shake of a dog, the sifting of sand, juice squeezed from fruit, the pour of paint, a glance, a snap, all perhaps key-frames of a cinematic sequence. A narrative is implied, but in an interweaving of allegory and irony, the story being told often refers back to what painting is, how it is made, and what painting still symbolizes in contemporary culture.
He has studied fine art at York University, graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design, and completed a course of computer animation at Sheridan College. He was a member of Propeller Center for the Visual Arts. He is an exhibit designer at the Art Gallery of Ontario. He has won awards in numerous juried exhibitions including OSA, TOAE, Mississauga Art Gallery and the RCA.