George Byrne







George Byrne: COLOR FIELD


Artist | George Byrne

Duration | November 5, 2021 – January 16, 2022

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George Byrne and His Image Alchemy

Article by Yan Xiao-Xiao


Geometric-like abstract color fragments of urban landscape are typical motifs in the works of George Byrne, an Australian photographic artist based in Los Angeles. He describes the huge amount of time he spends cruising through streets and alleys just to find the "unsaturated colors and inconspicuous low-rise buildings" under the Californian sky. Through his prolific creations that manifest the interaction of elements such as colors, light and shadow, lines, shapes, and materials, Byrne practices a kind of image construction experiment called "alchemy".


Byrne, who has received a complete art school education, is familiar with art history and sensitive to aesthetics. He seamlessly combines the intuition of photography with the texture and layers in painting. At the same time, he is also influenced by the New Topographics movement in the United States during the second half of the last century.


After having established photography as his main creative medium, he even uses contemporary digital collage to create his works. The daily fragments found in his works are not entirely from a moment that combines light and shadow with street scenes. Rather, they are built on what is seen in reality and embellished with elements borrowed from other landscapes. The colors and shapes may also be borrowed from those he collected and be reused, recreated, and to complete a unified aesthetic collage through an internal stitching method, which is like his recent series, “Post Truth”. This choice of creative technique stems from his interest in "creating images" rather than just shooting photos.


For Byrne, these photographic works are "both the outcome of observation and creation - they are based on what is real but also embrace open interpretation." As a result, Byrne successfully combines different visual art media and their respective art history contexts to create an aesthetic experience that transcends reality and goes even further to reflect a contemporary society that is characterized by socialized and fragmented visual culture.