Charting Byrne’s lockdown journey in spectacular colour, Turning Corners – the artist’s first publication – shows us how his victory over initial negativity led him to embrace the curtailment of certain freedoms and, ultimately, enjoy an unconfined explosion of creativity. Turning Corners features illustrations of Byrne’s complete lockdown output of 150 stunning artworks, and, along with accompanying text by Susan Stairs, offers a rare and captivating visual record and time capsule of our national topography, both urban and rural, during a period of global significance.
Byrne’s lockdown odyssey began in April 2020 on the rooftop of his home and studio in Chelmsford Road, Ranelagh, a practice that attracted huge media interest and earned him the moniker ‘The Artist on the Roof’. Over the months that followed, he brought his easel out onto the streets, exquisitely capturing his local area in oils and charcoal, venturing further afield when restrictions allowed. These spectacular Modern Impressionist works include scenes in leafy Ranelagh and Donnybrook; the lush cherry blossoms of Herbert Park and Portobello; Grand Canal’s water reflections; the National Botanic Gardens; the coastal villages of Dalkey and Sandycove; and, from the artist’s 2021 staycation, the Dingle Peninsula on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. Byrne also treats us to an arresting series of figurative works which showcase his intriguing imaginative process during the winter lockdown when plein air painting was not possible.