28th February - 29 March 2018
THE BOY AND THE JABBERWOCK - JOHN BYRNE
The Fine Art Society in Edinburgh presents The Boy with the Jabberwock, a mini retrospective of works by John Byrne RSA from the 1960s to today. The exhibition draws together elements of Byrne’s many creative outputs spanning painting, drawing, and writing.
The exhibition includes Byrne’s work in theatre, film and television through preliminary drawings and character sketches from Tutti Frutti, The Slab Boys and Writer’s Cramp. A highlight among these is a framed storyboard from the film adaptation of The Slab Boys, showcasing Byrne’s involvement in the project and the completeness of his vision. A series of small watercolour works examine childhood and Americana through the surrealistic lens of the 1960s and 1970s, reminiscent of Byrne’s album covers for Gerry Rafferty. These and an oil painting, Le Chat, are crafted with the deceptive straightforwardness of Byrne’s artistic moniker ‘Patrick’, though are steeped with symbolism and hidden narratives. Self Portrait with Sea Shells, a deeply introspective self portrait, marks Byrne’s return to painting in 1992 following a focus on writing.
Byrne attended Glasgow School of Art from 1958 to 1963, and its tradition of life drawing and draughtsmanship has left its mark in his work. This is particularly apparent in Writer’s Cramp, a watercolour character study for the theatrical production of the same name. His character F S McDade sits at his desk surrounded by ephemera, each object representing an element of his life.
John Byrne is a member of the Royal Scottish Academy and regularly exhibits in Edinburgh, London, Aberdeen and Glasgow, working from his studio in Edinburgh. He recently designed the First Minister’s Christmas Card for 2017, and completed a portrait of Billy Connolly for the BBC (now a mural in Glasgow) which is included in this exhibition.