VISUAL MIXED MEDIA ARTIST: CHRIS BYRNES
I am obsessively in love with photography: that is real photography found among its history, formative scientific explorative years, experimental, analogue and the human experience of drawing through and beyond photography. My work after formal post graduate research continues to be underpinned by the phenomena of light and the camera obscura with the main images still created in simple cardboard, plastic or timber pinhole cameras.
Chris Byrnes was born in Newcastle Australia into a large family of seven children. Her mother instilled a love of reading as a means of understanding the world and a means for self education along with the joy (and necessity) of making things. In the early years the radio was entertainment encouraging listening and imagining a story rather than seeing a visual image instantly. While beginning art studies in her teens Chris found herself returning home to raise her son as a single parent. Working in health administration supported her small family while artistic pursuits were always significant, attending night classes, workshops and reading about art at various stages. Later in life, placing her need to be involved in art at a high priority meant seeking employment at the University of Newcastle. This provided the opportunity and space to study part-time while employed fulltime, resulting in completing a Bachelor of Fine Art Honours in 2010. Chris joined community groups to assist in her art-making practice and became an active member of the Newcastle Printmakers Workshop Inc. This progressed to volunteering her support to Maitland Art Gallery, Newcastle Community Arts Centre, Newcastle Art Space Gallery and the Australian Centre for Photography in recent times. The significant loss of the family matriarch in 2014 found Chris considering both her place in the world and her commitment to art. Her mother Eleanor said do what you need to do and leave nothing important undone. Chris returned to full-time study completing a Master of Fine Art at the National Art School in Sydney in 2017. Her work has been exhibited nationally, within the global community and has won national and international awards and finalist status in the Hazelhurst Works on Paper, the Alice Prize, Head on Photography, Julia Margaret Cameron Awards for female photographers and the Ravenswood and Gosford Art Prizes. Chris continues investigations into the magic of light from her home base in Newcastle Australia and has recently extended her research practice into drawing through photography. Her work continues to embrace an ‘economy of means’ as a prominent component. Chris is a member of Reimagining the Canon Group of International Female Artists and Researchers based in Newcastle Australia who are always investigating further international art collaborative opportunities.
My mantra is simple:
Without light we cannot exist
Without light I have no image
Without an image I cannot exist
I love photography