Visual artist Hugh Byrne lives and works in Cape Town where he finds himself drawn to the city’s lines, form and structure. Although currently focussing on paintings largely influenced by architecture and space, Hugh’s previous work includes film, sculpture and photography. He completed an honours degree in Fine Arts from the University of Pretoria and only recently returned to South Africa two years ago after extensive travels.
Inspired by the city, Hugh says, “It has a way of combining unrelated objects together to create scenes, which are only there for a brief moment. For example, a shadow falling across a moving bus or the reflection of telephone lines in an office block window.” His subjects are these lines and shapes of buildings, shadows, roads and other geometric structures within the city which he has simplified to the extreme, abstracted and painted in vivid colours to create something new.
He says, “Although there is a system in the way I end up with the geometric forms that I have used in my paintings, I still like to hear that the viewer was able to see or relate to the shapes in a different way to what I had intended. I like to think my work encourages people to look at things in different way.”
Hugh uses household paints and resins to create the artworks, layering each material to give his final pieces a sculptural feel. He paints almost everything with a size10 paint brush and considers the process of painting to be important to the overall concept. The colours he chooses he feels have relevant meaning in his life, and perhaps relate to subconscious emotional memories.