Alice Byrne’s work has long been absorbed with investigating the aesthetic qualities of architectural forms by deconstructing them into their most essential elements. Breaking down these structures into flat planes and angles allows for endless experimentation with colour and composition, whether they are urban apartments, country abodes in the Burgundy region of France, or houses located in rural Victoria. In soft glazes of oil paint, Byrne blurs the edges of luminous fields of colours to create the serene, contemplative quality that defines her work. Yet in her most recent work Byrne extends the image of a house beyond its formal qualities, to drive it into much more mysterious and evocative scenarios.
In the works that featured in her 2009 exhibition Into the Wald (15 October – 7 November, 2009), Byrne returned to a small, decommissioned school-house in country Victoria, allowing her imagination to roam freely and create the intriguing quality that we see in each painting, which is partly generated through her attention to the rich wooded surroundings that encroach upon this humble little building. She is known for her unique sensibility for colour and her ability to experiment with striking colour combinations, as evident in both her oils and watercolours. But most importantly, in each painting the artist seems to draw the viewer in, and set them on a journey.
Byrne studied at the National Art School Sydney, gaining a Bachelor of Arts (Painting) in 1999. Since then she has completed a residency at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris in 2000, along with a residency at La Pommerie, St Setiers, France also in 2000, and a St Vincent’s Hospital residency in Melbourne in 2004. Byrne has exhibited successfully in NSW and Victoria and her work is held in Forbes Chambers, Sydney; Origin Capital, Sydney; Pat Corrigan Collection, Sydney; St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne and private collections throughout Australia.
Alice Byrne is represented in Victoria by James Makin Gallery.