The Widener Gallery will present a solo exhibition of recent paintings by Trinity College Studio Arts Program Director and Professor of Fine Arts Joseph Byrne, from April 5 to May 6, 2022. The exhibition pays tribute to the occasion of the departure to Byrne’s retirement in June from Trinity College.
A talk with the artist, followed by a reception, is scheduled for Tuesday, May 3 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Widener Gallery at Austin Arts Center and is free and open to the public.
Paintings from 2020 to 2022 are on display, inspired by the physical environment and the cultural and geological history of the west of Ireland. Located to the north and west of Galway city, the Connemara landscape has been central to Byrne’s paintings for some time. This field exerts on him a particular fascination, both conceptual and personal. His maternal grandmother was born in a small village near the vast Roundstone bog, one of Ireland’s last wild natural areas, which has been the focus of Byrne’s fieldwork. He has traveled to the area many times and has a family sense of where he paints from.
In this most recent series, Byrne distills the material characteristics of this austere landscape into a sensory experience of place. His process uses layers of paint and gesture marks to reveal the complexity of the region’s geological formations. Although her practice is grounded in careful observation, Byrne always navigates between what exists in the world and her subjective response to it. He said: “I find that the more intimate I become with a particular landscape, the more I can invent and deviate, enabling that crucial shift from description to interpretation.
Byrne joined the faculty at Trinity College in 1999. He directed the Studio Arts program and chaired the Fine Arts department on several occasions during his more than 20 years with the college. Prior to coming to Trinity, he was an art professor at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, where he taught for 13 years. He earned an MFA and an MFA in painting from the University of Iowa, and a BFA from St. John’s University, Minnesota. He was twice a recipient of MacDowell Colony Fellowships and was Artist-in-Residence at the American Academy in Rome. Her work has been exhibited nationally and is represented by the Groveland Gallery in Minneapolis. At Trinity he teaches all levels of painting, drawing, collage and art studio thesis. Also, he introduced the post-baccalaureate scholarship program at Trinity, now known as the Deborah Buck Scholarship and the Hilla Rebay Scholarship.
Gallery opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., closed on Sunday.
The exhibition runs from April 5 to May 6.
For more information about the exhibit, please call 860-297-2199 or 860-297-5232.
COVID-19 Safety Protocols: Members of the public are required to wear a mask inside the Austin Arts Center and be prepared to present proof of vaccination upon arrival (physical card or photo of card). Check for updates on the Trinity website here.