Published on the occasion of the 2002 exhibition Bill Burke: Fire and Iron, at the Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Pennsylvania. In this new book by Burke, which is somewhat reminiscent (in concept and design) of his first (and scarce) artist's book 'They Shall Cast Out Demons' (Nexus Press, 1983), portraits of people in the coal and steel industry regions of Kentucky are combined with images from Burke's travels in Asia. Seemingly disparate images spanning geography and time -- hunters, steel mills and photographs from the aftermath of genocide and wars in Cambodia -- strangely align in this disturbing artist's book.
From the text by Burke: "A hardened gear head by the age of 15, the metal disease has grown in me over the years. My first photographs were of cars. Years ago a fellow Aries and motorcyclist told me it is in the stars, that fire and iron are essential elements in our shared astrology, and that our lives will always be bound to cars and motors... In 1982, I began to travel in Asia on my own; first in Thailand and Burma and then Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, places I might have been sent in 1968 if I hadn't failed my draft physical. Being off balance and being constantly reminded that things aren't what they appear kept me alert. My original motivation, to confront my own fears of war and physical vulnerability, has evolved into a curiosity about the region and an appreciation for the resiliency and resourcefulness of its peoples. Often in the metal trades, I find fascinating evidence of those qualities. I'm sure it's more than a magnetic attraction that now brings me among the machinists and mechanics of the former French Indochina."
Size: 11 x 8.5 inches
Publisher: Bill Burke in association with Pittsburgh Filmmakers
Publication Date: 2002
Available from the gallery for $20