Pat Byrne – MFA Graduate, 2015

Pat Byrne, 2015, 'The New Baal Fires', Oil on canvas, 57x40cm

Pat Byrne, 2015, ‘The New Baal Fires’, Oil on canvas, 57x40cm

My practice explores superstitions and folklore. Superstitions have always held a core place in Irish culture but as time progresses the mischievous and malevolent spirits that once occupied the spoken word and imagination are being forgotten only to be seen as figures of parody.

Pat Byrne, 2015 'Industrious', Oil on Canvas, 41x31cm

Pat Byrne, 2015 ‘Industrious’, Oil on Canvas, 41x31cm

I take mythological humanoids and fairies and attempt to portray them in a more realistic and contemporary fashion, wanting to render them as somebody who could possibly pass us by on the street giving them invisibility through their normality. This is achieved by depicting them in everyday, casual attire such as hoodies and tracksuits, clothes surrounded with misperceptions of shady character that serve to amplify their reputations as tricksters. I work very figuratively because it creates an interesting contradiction to the make believe subject matter of the paintings.

Pat Byrne, 2014, 'Now, Look Around', Oil on Canvas, 21x17cm

Pat Byrne, 2014, ‘Now, Look Around’, Oil on Canvas, 21x17cm

I’m interested in how we rationalise events that could be the results of otherworldly actions with an explanation due to a lack of belief, a refusal to believe or possibly to keep this supernatural spectrum secret. Using this lack of fear towards fairy folk combined with the clothing is something that I use to reflect the contemporary human condition. Leprechauns are no longer needed to mend shoes and nor are banshees an omen of death, these characters of superstition are effectively unemployed.

Pat Byrne, 2015, 'One Who Holds November Sacred', Oil on Canvas, 38x28cm

Pat Byrne, 2015, ‘One Who Holds November Sacred’, Oil on Canvas, 38x28cm

Pat Byrne, 2015, 'Masquerading', Oil on Canvas, 25cm x 18cm,

Pat Byrne, 2015, ‘Masquerading’, Oil on Canvas, 25cm x 18cm,

In order for the light and shadows to fall as accurately as possible and heighten the level of realism I build props that are added as prosthetics such as an oversized clover for the leprechaun or horns for the pooka. All of this has inadvertently given the early stages of each painting an element of theatricality.

Pat Byrne, 2015 'Leaves', Oil on Canvas, 55x35cm

Pat Byrne, 2015 ‘Leaves’, Oil on Canvas, 55x35cm

Pat Byrne, 2015, 'Half in the World of Form', Oil on Canvas, 55x35cm

Pat Byrne, 2015, ‘Half in the World of Form’, Oil on Canvas, 55x35cm

Pat Byrne, 2015, 'The Result of Solitude', Oil on Canvas, 36x25cm

Pat Byrne, 2015, ‘The Result of Solitude’, Oil on Canvas, 36x25cm

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