John Michael Byrd
John Michael Byrd holds is primarily a painter, but has also worked in drawing, video, objects, performance and printmaking. Byrd’s work compels viewers with a vibrating, sensual use line, and transports us to a realm somewhere between reality and artificiality, what is familiar and what we fear. He holds an MFA in Studio Arts from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and is also an alumnus of Louisiana State University with a BFA in Painting and Drawing. John Michael’s work has been featured in numerous regional and national exhibitions and competitions. Also, he has been awarded several grants and scholarships including the J. Kenneth Edmiston Memorial Scholarship and the Carl M. Thorp Memorial Art Scholarship. John Michael lives and works in New York City.
Poof! They were fully formed in the spray; from the foam they catapulted from nothingness.
In my art practice, I explore societal fears and expectations through paintings of the human form. I am interested in dissecting all manners of intimacies. The dual realities that can form from these can be both physical and psychological - some divergent from my own. I ask where the funny is in the real and how we are able to digest so many uncanny occurrences.
This group of 14 paintings, called the Poofs, sprang from my continued obsession with the human head, representative of wisdom, understanding and rationality. I wanted to make a series of paintings that allude to the weight and burden of responsibility.
I envisioned a line of heads blooming from bundles of fabric. These bundles formed tightly at the neck of the various figures in different phases of formation. They are stirring. They move slowly as if they were waking from a long time-out. I wanted a sense of fluctuation to their morphing expressions, from comedic to hesitant. Faces wince, smile and even seem to call from their confines. They ebb and flow from crisp to misty. The bags containing them are rough like burlap on the roots of a freshly cut tree. Are they being set free or held hostage? Both the confined and the confiner are simultaneously repellent and appealing.
The transparent material is used to give a sense that the plane of the picture isn't attached to anything material, except for the four tiny places to which it is pinned. The paintings float ghostlike away from the architecture of the space, ebbing and flowing as it interacts with the physical movement of the viewer. This tension of existence and nonexistence is a key focus of this developing work. When you work with us, you'll gain not only a world-class team but also a wealth of industry experience. Read about some of our significant cases below.