Sparrow Heart by Theresa Byrnes June/July 2014

Janet Clayton Gallery is proud to present the exquisite works of Theresa Byrnes. Fresh from a long haul flight from New York carrying a selection of mixed media works on paper, Byrnes' brings with her a distinctive style that is intuitive, organic and above all, heartfelt.

Enjoying a stellar reputation in the world of contemporary art, Byrnes has successfully exhibited in New York,Washington, London, Rome and her home city of Sydney. Theresa's story will feature on the ABC's 7:30 Report later in June, and the opening on 18 June will be filmed.

Byrnes' work reaches into the unfathomable emotions triggered by something as simple as a visit by a sparrow. Theresa wrote last year:

"This series of paintings is not based on epic or political themes, so nothing grandiose. This exhibition is small and frail, sweet and personal. My heart, my understanding of life and love expanded a million miles after my first encounter with a fallen baby sparrow.

In the summer of 2006 a sparrow fell from its nest and into my heart. Its tinyness in my hand, I felt the ferocity of itsspirit and was immediately and profoundly changed. Nothing I had ever encountered in my life, romantic love, disability, financial struggle had ever taken my focus away from painting, but the love and kinship I felt for this tiny bird did. Sparrow love is the greatest love I have known. The paintings in this series I use both my hair and feathers. My hair is used as in a brush for painting; my human plumage. The feather is a quill for the writing of words and is the plumage of birds. In these paintings I marry the human and the bird, the painter and the writer, for I am both."

Shortly after writing this piece, Theresa conceived her baby son, named Sparrow.

Fellow artist Carolee Schneemann says of Theresa's work:

"Covered in viscous shining paint, drenched with color, Theresa Byrnes body becomes the agency of a visual, spatial transformation-marking, splattering, stroking surrounding surfaces. The effects are fierce and luscious, extending the radical marks of Kline, Pollock, and the dimensional implications of Abstract Expressionism."