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John Byrne: The Joyful Mysteries    Nov 2 - Nov 25, 2012

A Slice of Life
John Byrne
A Slice of Life, 2012
 
At the far end of the Western World
John Byrne
At the far end of the Western World, 2012
 
Cheers Buddy
John Byrne
Cheers Buddy, 2012
 
Feegie
John Byrne
Feegie, 2012
 
Fegs
John Byrne
Fegs, 2012
 
From Here to Eternity
John Byrne
From Here to Eternity, 2012
 
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Private View - Thursday 1 November 6.30-8.30pm

The Fine Art Society is proud to announce their third solo show for the Scottish artist John Byrne. Consisting of an entirely new body of work, the exhibition, one of his largest to date, will be displayed across two floors of the gallery.

Byrne’s return to painting after two decades of critically acclaimed writing for the theatre and for television has seen his reputation as an artist of great merit grow. At 72, Bryne is living a quiet life in Edinburgh where he paints incessantly. Being happily emancipated from any ‘school’ or ‘scene’ allows him a pleasurable and productive time in the studio.

Almost everything Byrne paints is cultivated from his boyhood memories and his imagination. Byrne was brought up in a dire housing scheme in Paisley in the 1950s at a time when the town was known as the murder capital of Scotland. There is no doubt that a sense of danger pervades his paintings, especially in urban scenes, although he refrains from creating any kind of satirical comment or clichéd, dark underworld. His figures are compelling not abhorrent, and rather than simply creating caricatures, Byrne fleshes out complex narrative threads, drawing immediate parallels to his fully formed characters on stage. The exhibition features some pure landscape painting, which are relatively rare in his output. Describing a recently finished landscape Bryne said “oh, it's of nowhere in particular”'. These works may not describe an actual place, however despite their mysticism they still conjure a sense of specificity via the artist’s technical prowess and recognizable aesthetic.

Although Byrne has never worried about situating himself in the contemporary art world, he has quickly become appreciated as a serious painter, with both commercial success and institutional support. An exhibition of Byrne's portraits is scheduled to take place at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in 2014. His series of self-portraits which span the last fifty years, are incredibly diverse in mood and conception. Amongst his most powerful work are his studies of those closest to him, memorably of his father in 1970s, of his previous partner Tilda Swinton, a masterly sanguine drawing of whom is in SNPG, their twins Honor and Xavier and most recently of his partner Jeanine.

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