FRESH - exhibition of developing series.

FRESH    Theresa Byrnes 2019           

UNTIL JUNE 17 Hours Thursday - Sunday 3-8pm @ TBG 616 E9th St New York, New York.

My new series of paintings and my next performance (in development), both called FRESH, are about our obsession with newness & ownership - dividing the earth, and packaging everything to give it worth and purpose.


Belief in packaging results in a narrow view and experience of the world, demanding we only trust and believe in what we can buy. FDA packaging regulations are for our health, not the health of the planet. This separation cuts us off from “the indigenous experience” while we continue polluting and destroying the earth.

The division of nations and separation of states is an attempt to order, own, rule and commodify resources. We brand and package the earth by seeing a country as a company. Attempting creative independence from a political system gives one a more honest view/experience of how to change behavior and then change the world.

FRESH is a series of ink paintings made with and by single use plastics bags.


Every piece of plastic manufactured on Earth is still with us. On our current trajectory there will eventually be more plastic than fish in the ocean. OUR WASTE WILL LIVE FOREVER and we begin to know true value - leaving life without a trace.

It is my hope that single use plastic bags will be banned and people will look back at this  time, this series and see an artists usage of the once common, now rare plastic bag. 

I do not want to join the treadmill of normalized global destruction. I began using trashed wood fragments to paint on in 2001, my hair as a brush in 2008 and earth as pigment in 2011. 

I question the ethical and philosophical validity of being an artist and using materials/commodities that edify the capitalist system. For me CONTRIBUTING TO SOCIETY as an artist is about giving clarity to the way we, humanity sustain existence within the big picture (the history/her-story of how our species has evolved) by spot-lighting paradoxes and suggesting ways of continuance. 


Is the Artist’s role to contribute to the economy, make make STUFF THAT WILL LAST THOUGH the AGES? The idea that archival art materials are of utmost importance hinges on the fact that to be a viable economic player you must have a solid product that will stand the test of time. To make art history your work must not bio-degrade.

We all want to live forever, be remembered, or at least have our ideas remembered. We fear death, of vanishing without a trace. VALUE is hinged on how long it will last not how graciously it will fall apart.


INDIGENOUS CULTURE - I was accepted into an Aboriginal family, in remote Arnhem Land Australia in 1991. Adopted into The Marika family I was taken under the wing of Roy Marika and Burupu Yunipingu (traditional painter). Burupu used human hair as paint brush, tree bark as canvas, ochre & clay as pigment.

Abstract expressionism made me feel the act of painting and led me to see painting as an experience not an object, to make me want to get inside the picture plane and make a painting not separate from the impact but within it.

I came to know Carolee Shneemann (1939 - 2019) 20 years ago and strongly identify with her as she was a painter and her performance art stemmed from the action of painting .

 TBG 616 E9th St NYC

Thurs - Sun 2-7 or by appointment -