In the late 1980s I had a small office on George St. in Peterborough, Ontario above Kelsey’s Nutrition Centre.
I shared the office with an 80 year old sculptor who smoked very pungent cigars and only came in to work once or twice a month. Our shared space was filled with cragly nudes and vats of clay, and at the back of the room was a small washroom, the only one on the floor.
At the front of the building on our floor was a huge open well-lit space that was the studio of painter David Bierk. I knew David by reputation — he was one of the founders of Artspace, an artist-run centre in the city, and several friends of mine had works of his in their homes. David pretty much kept to himself, as did I, and we only really saw each other when he came back to get water from the washroom we shared.
My strongest impression from those times was from David’s stereo: Jennifer Warnes’ Famous Blue Raincoat had just come out, and David listened to it. And listened to it. Over and over and over and over. He must have loved it. Oddly, this didn’t bother me, and I love the album myself to this day.
David Bierk died this week of cancer. I heard the news from my friend (and former Peterborough resident) Ann, and only knew that David had been ill at all just this morning from my friend Stephen, who lives in Peterborough and was on the crew that worked on the studio that replaced that floor on George Street for David — another large space just down the street.
May he rest in peace.