Observation and experience are the foundation of David Byrd's work and creative life. The 86-year old artist will be introducing his paintings to the commercial art world in Introduction: A Life of Observation. The exhibition presents Byrds major paintings, smaller studies, works on paper, and wood sculpture, drawing from the many rich memories of his life.
For almost three decades, Byrd worked in the psychiatric ward at a veterans hospital. Some of his most defining paintings stem from his work with patients who were damaged from the war and capture the distinct personalities and behaviours that he witnessed.
Stylistically Byrd uses moody tonal hues coupled with spatial relationships to capture scenes of figures and his memories of place. His paintings yield intelligent arrangements having notable similarities to pieces by Andrew Wyeth, Edward Hopper, and Georges Seurat while being rooted in the social realism and genre painting of the 1930s and 40s, the era when Byrd came of age.
Byrd studied art for a short time in Philadelphia and New York after World War II, after his time in the Merchant Marines and the U.S. Army. His travels through Europe, Asia and the Mediterranean, as well as maritime subjects from the war years, are evident in many of his pieces.
Byrd retired from the hospital in 1988 and went on to build a home and studio in rural New York. He continues to paint an create wood sculpture.