Diane Burko

Contact Information



Studio: Philadelphia, PA


Please contact artist or gallery for purchases, commissions, etc.


Artist's Biography

Diane Burko’s art focuses on monumental geological phenomena. To that end, she has investigated locations on the ground and in the air from open-door helicopters and planes with cameras and sketchpads. Traveling from the temperate zones of America to Western Europe, from rain forests to glaciers and active volcanoes below the equator, her art merges a vision that is at once panoramic, intimate and sometimes provocative.

Born in Brooklyn, in 1945, 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. In 1974, she founded FOCUS: Philadelphia Focuses on Women in the Visual Arts. In 1976, Ivan Karp offered her a “Dealer’s Showcase” which caught the attention of David Bourdon, who wrote about her in The Village Voice leading to gallery exhibits in New York in the 80’s. From 1976 to 2012 she was represented by the Locks Gallery in Philadelphia. She is now represented by LewAllen in Santa Fe NM and Cindy Lisica in Houston. A 1977, flight with James Turrell over the Grand Canyon, inspired Burko’s first aerial photographs of the landscape - establishing her lifelong process of securing visual material. In 1989, the Lila Wallace Foundation awarded Burko a six-month residency in Giverny, France. In 1993, she had a residency at the Rockefeller Study and Conference Center in Bellagio. Robert Rosenblum, who first took an interest in Burko’s work in 1976, wrote the accompanying catalog essay for her 1994 exhibition, Luci ed Ombra di Bellagio. In 1996, Burko won a $200,000 Public Art Commission for three monumental canvases installed in the Marriott Hotel in Philadelphia. In 2000, a $50,000 Leeway prize funded a project on Volcanoes, enabling her to travel to Hawaii, Italy and Iceland. Carter Ratcliff contributed an essay for the 2001 Volcano Catalog. In 2011, she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the WCA. In 2013, she participated in the Arctic Circle residency to Svalbard, supported by a grant from the Independence Foundation.

Burko’s practice (since 2006) at the intersection of art and science focuses on issues of climate change. Originally basing her imagery on research and visual data from scientists, she soon moved to bear witness directly in the Polar regions. In her painting projects such as Politics of Snow and Polar Investigations she explores visual strategies, translating data into imagery. In her recent photo projects, Deep Time and Elegy, that effort continues more metaphorically and abstractly. She sees melting glaciers as a key indicator of climate change. Before sailing around Svalbard in 2013 she joined a team of geologists in the Northern most research station in the world - Ny-Alesund, where she flew and landed on top of glaciers for two days. In February and March 2017 Diane explored melting glaciers in New Zealand’s southern Alps as well as rainforests and the Barrier Reef in Australia.

Public engagement is integral to her practice – she appears on panels and colloquium on art and science, speaks to school children, think tanks, Conservancy groups and professional conferences such as the AGU and GSA and at the Academy of Natural Sciences, as well as at INSTAAR where she is an affiliate.

Artist's Statement

Monumental geological phenomenon of the world have captured my attention throughout my career. Since 2006, my artistic practice has been located at the intersection of Art and Science. I want my art to be more than a painting/photograph to be appreciated - I want it to be used as a tool for social change and environmental policy, bringing attention to the urgent issues of climate change.

This past year I participated in expeditions to Antarctica and the Arctic Circle, which profoundly augmented my ongoing study of ice as an indicator of environmental change.

I am currently developing paintings, photographs and videos from three separate expeditions: the Antarctic Peninsula experience in January; my September-October expedition to the Arctic (sponsored by the Arctic Circle.org) where I sailed around Svalbard with 26 other artists as well as four days collaborating with scientists from the Norwegian Polar Institute in Ny-Alesund and Tromso; and another October voyage to Greenland.

I find glaciers to be a particularly compelling image to communicate my concerns. I intend to continue witnessing their melt in Ilulissat, Greenland this summer as well as returning to Antarctica as member of the educational team for the non-profit Students on Ice expedition.

This new body of work, my Polar Investigations project, represents the culmination of years of study and collaboration with glacial geologists throughout the world.

Selected Exhibitions

Glacial Shifts, Changing Perspectives, Paintings and Photographs by Diane Burko, Walton Art Center, Fayetteville, AR

Traces of Change: Diane Burko, Cindy Lisica Gallery, Houston Texas

Glacial Dimensions: Art and the Global Ice Melt, Diane Burko and Paula Winokur, Burger Gallery, Kean University, Union, NJ

Diane Burko- Photographs: Investigating the Environment, LewAllen Galleries, Santa Fe, NM

Diane Burko: Glacial Perspectives, Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Water Matters, LewAllen Galleries, Santa Fe, NM

New Photographs: Water, Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Politics of Snow II, Bernstein Gallery-Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, NJ

Politics of Snow, Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Imprints in the Landscape, Philagrafika – Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Invitational: Four Alumni, Tang Museum Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY

Invitational Airport Installation: Closer to Home, Photographs, Philadelphia International Airport, Philadelphia, PA

Diane Burko: New Work in Photography, Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Flow, Tufts University Art Gallery, Boston, MA
Traveled to: James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA

Landscapes: Paint/Pixel, Rider University Art Gallery, Lawrenceville, NJ

Earth Water Fire Ice, Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Diane Burko: The Volcano Series, Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

A Sense of Place: Paintings by Diane Burko, The Parthenon Museum, Nashville, TN

Land Survey: 1979-1995 - Paintings by Diane Burko, Payne Gallery, Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA
Traveled to: Lore Degenstein Gallery, Susquehanna College, Selinsgrove, PA; Dowd Fine Arts Gallery, State University of New York at Cortland; Olin Hall Gallery, Roanoke College, Salem, VA

Luci ed Ombra di Bellagio - The Light and Shadow of Bellagio, Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Estampes: Works on Paper, Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Diane Burko at Giverny, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC

Reflets – Paintings from Giverny, Marian Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Marian Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Fifteen Years- 1972-1987, Hollins College, Roanoke, VA

Waterways of Pennsylvania, traveling exhibition
Everhart Museum, Scranton, PA; Westmoreland County Museum of Art, Greensburg, PA; Museum of Art, Penn State University, College Park, PA; Reading Public Museum, Reading, PA; Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, PA; Marian Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Mabel Smith Douglass Library Gallery, Rutgers University, Mary H. Dana Women Artists Series, NJ

Stefanotti Gallery, New York, NY

Morris Gallery, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Stefanotti Gallery, New York, NY

Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA

First Distinguished Alumni Award Exhibition, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY

Genesis Galleries, Ltd., New York, NY

Marian Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Dealer Showcase, O.K. Harris Gallery, New York, NY

Marian Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

IMPACT – Legacy of the Women’s Caucus for Art, Katzen Art Center, American University,
Washington DC

Tipping Points: Artists Address the Climate Crises, Gallery Bergen, Bergen Community College,
Paramus, NJ

Climate Contemporary: Artists Respond to Climate Change, curated by Rebecca Smith, Lake George Arts Project, Lake George, NY

Frozen Earth: Images from the Arctic Circle, Noyes Museum of Art, Stockton College, Galloway, NJ

Wrath, Wave Hill Public Garden and Cultural Center, Bronx, NY

Bucks County Artists: A Cross Section, Hicks Art Center Gallery, Bucks County Community College, Newtown, PA

Deep Time, National Academy of Science, Washington, DC

Shifting Ecologies, The Painting Center, New York, NY

Seeing Glacial Time: Climate Change in the Arctic, Tufts University Art Gallery, Medford, MA

Due North: I Nordur, presented by Philagrafika, Icebox Project Space, Philadelphia, PA

2013 - 2014
Sensing Change, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia, PA

Unstable Ground, Tang Museum, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY

Pennsylvania Landscapes, Lancaster Museum of Art, Lancaster, PA

Value of Water, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, NY

Same: Difference, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum, Philadelphia, PA

Trouble in Paradise Examining Discord Between Art & Society, Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ

Out of the Blue, Bergen College Art Gallery, Paramus, NJ

The Delaware River, James A. Michener Art Museum, New Hope, PA

Photography 26, Perkins Center for the Arts, Moorestown, NJ

Out of the Blue, Abington Art Center, Jenkintown, PA

Torrid, Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA

Terrestrial Forces, Museum of Fine Arts, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL

Extreme Landscape, Hunterdon Museum of Art, Clinton, NJ

Variable Geographies, Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

2002 - 2003
Landscapes-Mindscapes, Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts/ Sciences, Loveladies, NJ

The American River, Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, Brattleboro, VT
Traveled to: T.W. Wood Gallery and Art Center, Montpelier, VT; Florence Griswold Museum, Lyme, CT

2001 - 2002
Artists of the Commonwealth: Realism in Pennsylvania Painting, 1950-2000, James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA
Traveled to: Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Loretto, PA; Erie Museum of Art, Science and Natural History, Scranton, PA; The State Museum, Harrisburg, PA

Pictura Lucida: Paintings by the Established Artist Recipients of The Leeway Foundation Grants, 2000, Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA

Public Art: Concept, Process, Realization, Nexus Foundation for Today’s Art, Philadelphia, PA

Aspects of Representation, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC

An Extended View: Landscapes by Philadelphia Artists, Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, PA

Invitational Drawing Exhibition, Smith College, Northampton, MA

Landscape: Work by Women Artists, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA

Works on Paper, Beaver College Art Gallery, Glenside, PA

Thick and Thin, Islip Art Museum, East Islip, New York, NY

Locks Gallery Group, International Contemporary Art Fair, Yokohama, JAPAN

New Viewpoints: Contemporary American Women Realists, World Expo, American Pavilion, Seville, Spain

Juvenilia: Art of Future Past, Levy Gallery, Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, PA

Art Now: Artists Choose Artists, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Artist's Bibliography

Carey, Mark, “Glacier, gender, and science: A feminist glaciology framework for global environmental change research,” Sage, 2016

Yoder, Kate, “Incredible Glacier Art pays Homage to Our Disappearing Ice,” Grist, February 2016

Jackson, M., “Glaciers and climate change: narratives of ruined futures,” WIREs Climate Change, July 24, 2015

“What Deadly Sins Look Like,” Wall Street Journal, July 2015

McDougall, Dawn, “Framing Change,” Chemical Heritage - Vol. 31, No. 3, Fall 2013/Winter 2014

Arntzenius, Linda, “Diane Burko’s Polar Images Document Climate Change,” Town Topics, September 5, 2013

Burko, Diane, “My Personal Definition of Art,” The Brooklyn Rail, September 4, 2013

Lewis-Hall, Jennifer, “The Female Gaze,” PHL 17, March 28, 2013

Merkle, Karen Rene, “Erie Art Museum Exhibits Evidence of Global Warming,” The Erie Times-News, January 2012

Wang, Regina, “Panel Speaks on Climate Change,” The Daily Princetonian, April 22, 2011

Ledger, Martha, "Burko with a Camera, Not a Brush,” Broad Street Review, July 16, 2011

Spaid, Sue, "Diane Burko," ARTUS, December 1, 2010

Warner, Emily, "Diane Burko: Politics of Snow at Locks Gallery," artcritical.com, March 23, 2010

Conversation between James Turrell and Diane Burko, NEXT LEVEL Magazine, UK, 2008, Illus.

McQuaid, Cate, “Touching the Void,” The Boston Globe, March 19, 2006, Illus.

Sozanski, Edward, “Depicting Wet Landscapes Born of Fire,” Philadelphia Inquirer, September 10, 2004

Genocchio, Benjamin, "Landscapes That Push The Boundaries," NY Times, September 14, 2003

Hampton, Brad, "Diane Burko at Locks," Art in America, March 2002: Illus.

Rice, Robin, “Diane Burko,” ART news, January 2002: Illus.

Selected Grants, Fellowships, Awards, and Commissions

Independence Foundation, Artist fellowship, 2013; The Arctic Circle Residency, Fall 2013; Bessie Berman Grant in Painting, The Leeway Foundation, 2000; “One Percent” Public Art Commission awarded by the Redevelopment Authority of Philadelphia, Marriott Hotel, Philadelphia, 1996; Rockefeller Residence Fellowship - Bellagio Study and Conference Center, September 1993; National Endowment for the Arts Visual Arts Fellowship, 1991-92, 1985-86; Lila Acheson Wallace Foundation Residency Fellowship at Giverny, Readers Digest Foundation, April – September 1989; Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Individual Artists Grant, 1989, 1981.

Selected Collection

Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, NH
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO
Colgate University, Picker Art Gallery, Hamilton, NY
James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Pew Charitable Trusts, Washington, DC
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Reader’s Digest, Pleasantville, NY
Reading Public Museum, Reading, PA
Tang Museum, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY
Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA
COMCAST Headquarters, Philadelphia, PA
The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Zimmerli Museum, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ