Posts tagged Theresa Byrnes
Nest by Theresa Byrnes: January 2010

NEST, exhibition and performance by Theresa Byrnes

6 January -17 January - with a performance on 14 January 7pm sharp

At Wilson Street Gallery Newtown, Sydney Australia

In its new exhibition, NEST, Wilson Street Gallery presents the recent paintings and a performance art piece by Australian Artist Theresa Byrnes. Byrnes has been based in New York for 10 years and this is the first performance she has done on Australian shores for 22 years.

Maura Reiley Ph.D, senior curator, American Federation Of Arts commented in 2007:

“Like Schneemann, Byrnes’ work is often characterized by critics as ‘body art’–a term that describes how artists will use their bodies as a literal canvas for enabling political or social commentary.”

This notion is punctuated by Byrnes in one of her most recent pieces called Trace (2007), a performance in which Byrnes submerged herself in a vat of crude oil, and then spent 30 minutes cleaning herself of the thick substance in front of a crowd of spectators on a New York sidewalk. In Boston Byrnes will be performing a new work titled Theresa Tree, a piece that she writes us is based on a question from her childhood: “What is the difference between me and a tree?” A worthwhile investigation indeed.

Byrnes’ painting leads her to a performance and at times performance will come first and act as herald as it ushers forth a series of paintings. For Byrnes both painting and performance art are a means of exploring ideas and understanding better the mechanics of humanity.

Byrnes examines in her latest body of work Nest, our instinct for security and home and contemplates how survival has become double edged. “Home, love and procreation come at the cost of entrapment and servitude to a global economy based on the assumption of ownership.” Theresa Byrnes said. “The other way of survival is through the indigenous understating of custodianship, “ she said.  “In Nest, I use my hair to make my mark in the paintings and in the performance, to prove my being. I build, I paint a nurturing surrounding and find security in my own genetic rope: my hair.”

Byrnes’ ink on paper Nest paintings are intricate and soft; they conjure dream-like buoyancy or the heavy weightlessness of the depths of the sea. In them we see plants and creatures, cloudlike spirits and forms with the seriousness of blood and entrails, fractals and ferns. They are poetic and persist in their flowing detail to convince us of their simplicity.

Byrnes has established a firm place in the international arts community. Her work is part of the course-work at the San Francisco School of the Arts. She has won 2 Pollock-Krasner art awards and is widely collected.


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."