Mercyhurst University

You are here

Recycled materials inspire artists' mixed media work

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

“Repurposed: Ronald Gonzalez and Daniel Burke” – opening Jan. 5, 2017, in Mercyhurst University’s Cummings Gallery – features two artists who create mixed media works from recycled and repurposed materials.

A reception for the artists is set for Thursday, Jan. 19, from 5 to 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. “Repurposed” will remain on display through Feb. 5.

Ronald Gonzalez’s recent work has focused on a series of black figures made from schematic steel armatures, assembled with a wide assortment of objects, antiques and collectibles that are laden with time and place. The work is then further eroded with metal filings, burned wax, glue and black soot to “both obscure and reveal anthropomorphic objects that suggest the internal workings of their re-animated surrogate heads.”

Gonzalez received a B.A. in 1982 from Binghamton University, where he currently teaches as professor of art and sculpture. He has also had artist residencies at Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, New York; Sculpture Space, Utica, New York; John Michael Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin; Provincetown Arts Work Center, Provincetown, Massachusetts; Cornell University, Ithaca, New York; and Hanes Arts Center, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He received the Binghamton University Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, as well as grants from the Adolph & Esther Gottlieb Foundation, Pollock Krasner Foundation, and NYSCA and NYFA grants.

His work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States, as well as at galleries in Peru and Argentina.

Burke, a professor of art at Mercyhurst, began his formal study of art at Erie Technical High School. He attended the Columbus College of Art and Design for several years and served in the U.S. Army for three years. With the aid of the GI Bill, he then received his bachelor’s degree from Mercyhurst College and his master’s from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

He has won prizes and honors in more than 60 juried competitions, winning awards in 28 national and international shows. He recently received the Bellinger Memorial Award at the Chautauqua National Exhibition of American Art. He has also been honored with three Memorial Awards at the Carnegie Museum of Art; the Chautauqua Art Association Award; Mainstream’s award of excellence; and prizes at the Greater New Orleans International Exhibition, Appalachian National Drawing Competition and Ball State University’s Drawing and Small Sculpture Show. He was awarded a Mid-Atlantic Arts Council grant for works on paper and was four times a recipient of a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Visual Arts Fellowship, most recently in 2008. In 2001 Edinboro University of Pennsylvania named him a Distinguished Alumnus in Art.

To date, Burke has had 30 one-person shows around the nation and has participated in several invitational exhibitions. His paintings, drawings and installations are in corporate and private collections nationwide.

“For subject matter I’m using birds (and cages) and mice (in mazes). The art, however, is about shapes, colors, texture, scale and patterns, being guided by imagination. There is a dawning concern that has entered my aesthetic regarding reclaiming, reusing and repurposing inexpensive and impermanent materials,” Burke says.

Cummings Gallery, located in the lobby of the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center, is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. For information, call 814-824-2092 or email gallery director Heather Dana at




Image 1:

Ronald Gonzalez
Found Objects, Wax, Wire, Carbon, Paint over welded Steel
65”x 13”x 13”

Image 2:

Daniel Burke
Acrylic and Mixed Media on repurposed materials
60" x 36" x 5"