Diane Burko is a visual artist whose art focuses on monumental geological phenomena. To that end, she has investigated location on the ground, underwater and in the air from open-door helicopters and planes with cameras, drones and sketchpads. Traveling from the temperate zones of America to Western Europe, from rain forests to glaciers, from active volcanoes and to coral reefs below the equator, her art merges a vision that is at once panoramic, intimate and sometimes provocative.
For over a decade her practice has been situated at the intersection of art and science embracing issues of climate change, starting with glacial melt and sea level rise to currently concentrating on our oceans coral reef ecosystems. She believes she can contribute to the public dialogue by learning from researches in the field, bearing witness to the actual phenomenon and then processing that knowledge visually. ‘‘I see myself as a subversive artist, creating compelling images which in turn inform the public of the dire threats facing our planet.’’
Burko graduated Skidmore College in 1966 with a B.S. in art history and painting. In 1969, she earned an MFA in painting from the University of Pennsylvania. Burko was a professor at Community College of Philadelphia from 1969-2000, also teaching at Princeton University, ASU, and PAFA. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, residencies, and grants, and has travelled and exhibited extensively throughout her career. Currently, her work is on view in the major solo exhibition ‘‘Endangered: From Glaciers to Reefs’’ at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.. Public engagement is integral to her practice. Burko lectures frequently about the intersection of art and science, and her role as artist-activist.