Byrne received a B.A. from St. John's University in Collegeville,
Minnesota, and an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa. He has had
three one-person exhibitions at First Street Gallery in New York
City and is represented by Groveland Gallery in Minneapolis,
Minnesota. His work is featured in The Artist as Native:
Reinventing Regionalism, published in 1993 by Pomegranate Art
Books. He has been the recipient of two MacDowell Colony
Fellowships and in 1994 and 1995 he was nominated for the American
Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Art.
"For the past six years I have
worked on a series of paintings based on studies done on site in
the sacro bosco (sacred woods) located in central Italy,
particularly in the province of Umbria. Typically, these woods are
located on the tops of mountains and have been set aside for
religious worship and contemplation since pre-Roman times. To this
day, they continue to be special places that are protected by the
state and local governments.
"Although I work from watercolors
and drawings produced on site, my aim in these paintings is not to
provide a literal translation of the woods. Any landscape painting
is a fiction, one which has its roots in geography but which
nonetheless represents a translation of that geography into an
intellectual and emotional construct. In these paintings, I am not
interested in reproducing the woods in a realistic fashion.
Rather, it is my intention to create images whose physical and
conceptual properties as paintings will suggest the experience of
being in the woods, hearing the sounds, feeling the atmosphere,
and watching the light blaze, fade, and blaze again."