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Residency 26/2/24 - 22/4/24

My artistic practice has evolved from the early figurative work at NCAD, where I worked for 4 years, and Bronze casting at Werner Schurman’s Foundry in Dublin to the later large-scale wood machetes and fiberglass castings where I employ organic shapes as well as hard edge geometric construction.

To find a material and a process, that engenders a harmony and understanding of the place I find myself in is a really joyful discovery. A lot of the work is generated from this close relationship to the environment in which I work and many of the tools and materials are also local and ready to hand.

This is evident in recent graphic work using wax and graphite based on observations of Hedgerows. The progress to paper mash and peat moss with some crushed coal nuggets provided just the right immersive materials and series of processes that enabled me to feel my way to living and working in Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim.

An essential aspect of my work is to make a mark on the environment, be it urban or Natural, Interior or Exterior. To produce something by way of materials and gesture that ‘sits right’ where it lands. And learn from the observers of all kinds.

John Byrne

Byrne studied sculpture and design at NCAD obtaining his degree in 1968. After a period of upskilling as a master finisher in foundry work in London he returned to set up a Sculpture and Plastics department in Dunlaoghaire Arts School and taught sculpture part-time in the National College of Art and Design 1972 - 78. After taking a general course in philosophy, psychology and classics at Trinity he moved to the States in 1980 where he built a studio workshop in New York, manufactured fibre-glass lifeboats for the US Navy and worked on the famous Brooklyn Model Works. By the time he moved to San Francisco in 1991 he had already become a master cabinet maker mixing his trade in carpentry and his studio practice in painting. In 2002 Byrne obtained dual Irish and US citizenship and joined the US Peace Corps and on June 8 2008 left Philadelphia with a 35 strong educational crew conducting humanitarian work in West Africa. During this period, he initiated a new Sculpture Department in a local secondary school in the Volta region of Ghana.

Byrne returned to Ireland in 2017. Notable exhibitions and awards include: Irish Exhibition of Living Art, 1973-77; Dublin Arts Festival Sculpture 1974-77; Founder and chair of OASIS Open Air Show of Irish Sculpture in conjunction with Arts Council 1974. One person shows in venues such as Mugi studio Manhattan 1986; SOHO Artists, Mercer St. 1987; Belcher Studios Gallery, San Francisco 1996; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco Zen Centre 2002; New Leaf Outdoor Sculpture Gallery, Berkeley 1998. Awards include IRELAND 66 Design Award (silver), 1966; Alice Berger Hammerschlag Trust Sculpture Award 1974; OIREACHTEAS Gold Medal, 1975.

Current Residencies


Landscape, Ecology & Environment Research Residencies