Theresa Byrnes
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(An Appropriate Distance) From The Mayor’s Doorstep
No. 33, June 1, 2001

(An Appropriate Distance) From The Mayor’s Doorstep • JUNE 1, 2001


...The third show reflecting the far-flung influence of the “splatter-and-daub school” was that of Theresa Byrnes, a native of Australia, at Nienaber Contemporary. This artist does throw her body into her paintings, whipping her loaded brush in a long horizontal sweep across from the canvas to make long ultra-narrow lines of paint, and working on the floor as well as the walls or an easel. This can’t be easy: for her, as she suffers from Friedrich’s Ataxia, and is wheelchair-mobile, nor are her paintings lovely in a conventional sense Her colors can be shrill and acid, while the way she applies paint can recall Pollock, Cy Twombly or the neo-expressionists of the 80s, but when they succeed, these paintings have a poetic, sometimes unforgettable intensity. The best in this show was “Night Blooms,” a larger, horizontal canvas with one half the other half, midnight blue, and horizontal whiplash lines of the opposite color on each half. “Lettre de Cachet,” the small, complex diptych reproduced on the announcement, was charming, and two medium-sized yellow paintings with black designs on them, “Yellow Dragon” and “Black Knot on Yellow,” had plenty of zing...