BROKEN _ performance pic by – Kevin Ohanlon


The word disabled means that normal abilities have been taken away for whatever reason but it also implies that you have no ability. I do not feel disabled. In my 35 year long career I have never addressed “disability” in my art (even with the interminable morbid fascination of virtually every arts writer & journalist who writes about me). Here, in BROKEN I have made an exception.

Origin and Etymology of dis- from Latin dis-, literally, apart
Origin and Etymology of dis short for disrespect, First Known Use: 1980
dis as a prefix : opposite or absence of : not
dis as a verb slang : to treat (someone) with disrespect : to be rude to (someone)
dis as a noun slang : a disparaging remark or act : to criticize (something) in a way that shows disrespect, to treat with disrespect or contempt : insult

I know what is meant (in the best sense) by being categorized ‘disabled’. Running, dancing, walking, talking clearly are abilities that have slowly evaporated from my experience. Fantastic as these empowering attributes are, they are not the be all & end all. People have disabilities, I have disabilities but calling someone disabled is another thing.

Disabled as a naming word is misleading & demeaning, in & of itself discriminatory. Disabled as a medical term should be etymologically correct not flatly meaning life apart from ability. 

I believe in a neurologically diverse humanity – there are many ways to experience life. Typical physical ability is just that. There is no master code. I do not care to be searching for a cure to have normal abilities. I do not aspire to be typical. 

A term to categorize a whole community of people that is inaccurate is also unethical. One can excel, or one can cower no matter what your physical circumstance. Look at my work not my legs!

In “BROKEN” I choose broken, old wood & follow it becoming art, as an analogy for how deceptive our eyes can be & dismissive we can become when convinced that perfection does not incorporate disorder.


 A performance based video – Theresa Byrnes
Premiered at Georgetown University, Wash DC, USA, April 2018


I am broken old wood
disregarded, on a pile
brought into focus by an artist eye
touched with a carless splatter of life
time, nature make art, make air
without pomp or price

etching beauty from the grave
forgotten doesnt matter
and yet it grows so sweet
the chance, the impulse straddled.

TBG 616 East 9th Street NYC
”BROKEN” performance paintings & recent works on exhibition thru May 2018

HOURS-when I am there or by appointment |

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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