NOTES ON – THE PRE-PERFORMANCE PAINTINGS

In an instant one can reprogram experience & psyche by feeling the humanity behind the mark.

Painting, mark making, is a balanced combination of the scientific & the esoteric. Beyond intuitive it strips me to my primordial core. As an artist I use this to explore environmental – anthropological (eco-feminist) ideas.

I am interested in why & how we are here as a life force. Understanding the nature of life is within our individual selves. Our hair has our genetic code. Our skin, our organs all have cellular memory and are linked to the beginning of life on earth. I am fascinated to posses my body & I am fascinated by my ability as a painter to enter a visual mark and be emotionally and intellectually catapulted by it.

Making paintings is for me the ultimate form of contemplation, it is an experiment whose solution culminates in a painting that echoes the question and whose fierce beauty suggests the correctness of its answer or at the very least propels me to continue to examine life through the magnifying glass of painting.

I make paintings in the weeks and months preceding a performance with the medium I will perform with. In DUST TO DUST: dirt, earth pigments, ink, hair, water & watercolor paper. As I resolve these paintings a technique develops & leads me to want to more deeply penetrate an idea. The painting process becomes a method and this method informs me of what and how the performance will proceed.

Like my colleague fellow painter & performance artist Carolee Shneeemann, I am a painter first and foremost; performance art comes from that.

I am undoubtedly human, woman and sensual. I have to feel and be felt. And there comes a time in my painting when I am no longer satisfied to find painterly solutions for evolutionary, environmental & cultural questions. I have to get inside the picture plane – and so I plan for full body immersion in the painting and in the contemplation – a performance art piece. And the performance becomes group contemplation & it pushes us to a new level of understanding.

I am not afraid to get dirty, I am not afraid of the cold – I have a high discomfort tolerance, I am not afraid of the rare disorder of the nervous system I have (Friedreich’s Ataxia). Because of FA I ride a wheelchair and the control of my muscles is progressively difficult – WHATEVA! I am not hung up on having a static or mainstream identity.

I am not shy about the different way my body moves, my performances often being athletic. I am curious and keen to see & feel just how I do move. My physicality, my vulnerably is a privilege. No one else is wired to move the way I do – it is unique and awkward and beautiful. Challenge is life & life demands struggle. I want to explore what it is to be human and anticipate how we might next evolve.

Exhibition/Screening
4 pre-performance paintings & 6 inch post DUST TO DUST paintings by Theresa Byrnes
DUST TO DUST performance installation ON VIEW!
& screening “The making of DUST TO DUST” – a 6 minute documentary by Kristiina Salaka
thru December 31st
@
SUFFER
616 East 9th Street (B &C)
December Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday 3 – 8pm
or by appointment – mail@TheresaByrnes.com | www.theresabyrnes.com

About Theresa

Australian-born, New York based artist Theresa Byrnes began to exhibit her paintings in 1986 at the age of 16. She has had over 30 solo shows at spaces including Saatchi & Saatchi in New York and Sydney, Cristianne Nienaber Contemporary Art NYC and the Australian Embassy in Washington D.C. Theresa’s work is primarily about and is the exploration of natures force. Her performance pieces are described as “wondrous,” “purist,” and “uncompromising,” by London's Daily Mirror. Theresa has performed at Saint Marks Church @ The Bowery and for the Queens Council for the Arts. In 1993 Byrnes was adopted by an Aboriginal community in Arhem Land (Aust.). In 1996, Byrnes was a Young Australian of the Year. She published her autobiography, The Divine Mistake in 1999.She moved from Sydney to New York in 2000 and received Pollock-Krasner awards in 2003 and 2006. Currently The Production company Amala Films in LA are producing a bio-pic based on her book. Byrnes paints in her East Village studio, writes her second memoir and is mother to her toddler son.
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