George Byrne is an Australian artist whose work pays homage to Los Angeles. He creates abstractions from photos of fragments of local buildings – some iconic (the Hollywood Palladium) and some a bit less so (the 99 Cents Only store in Silver Lake).
Byrne just released “Post Truth,” a new book of his work. He’s also the focus of a solo show of the same name at domicile (n.), an East Hollywood art gallery.
Byrne’s focus is on color and geometry, using urban landscapes that he manipulates subtly. His works are printed on pigment paint: “it adds a painterly glow,” he told me when I checked out his show earlier this month. “I was influenced by Matisse’s cutouts. What happens when you add a chunk of color here?”
Byrne’s striking street collages betray influences from the likes of David Hockney, Ed Ruscha, Louis Baltz, Richard Deibenkorn, and Steven Shore. Byrne studied art in college, then worked as a full-time musician for many years.
Byrne’s interest in visual art was reactivated after moving to Los Angeles in 2010, when he began working in photo collage and assemblage. He treats his subjects as malleable, rather than static. “I’m pushing photography to be more expressive.” The advent of smartphones helped him to refine his eye as it put him in “a perpetual state of observation.” Over time, he shifted to using big cameras.
Byrne feels that this show is a timely one: “In the moment we are living in, in a city and state reeling from the pandemic, social unrest and the terrible impacts of climate change – there is still hope here in Los Angeles. There is still truth. It feels timely to be celebrating this amazing city’s understated beauty and resilience.”
Byrne’s paintings can be seen by appointment at domicile (n.), located at 4859 Fountain Avenue, through December 19. Signed limited editions of the book of his work are also available at domicile.
(Gallery of images below by Karin E. Baker for The LA Beat)