Born in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, in 1946, John Burke studied at the Crawford School of Art in Cork, and in London with Brian Kneal.
He has shown sculptures in all the major Irish group exhibitions, as well as international shows like Artists 77, New York (1977); 18 European Sculptors, Munich (1978); Sculpture Européenne, Brussels (1979); A Sense of Ireland, London (1980); and C.A.N., Cork (1985), where he won the sculptor prize. He has held solo shows at Trinity College, Dublin; the Ulster Museum, Belfast; the David Hendriks Gallery, Dublin; and an open-air show in Cork city.
His outdoor works include the abstract red steel sculpture at the Bank of Ireland building on Baggot Street, Dublin.
He won the Cork Arts Society Award (1967), a Macaulay Fellowship (1970), and the Alice Hammerschlag Travel Award (1979).