DUBLIN artist Gerard Byrne has just published his first book – featuring 150 paintings he produced during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Turning Corners is Byrne’s first ever publication, and his impressive plein air paintings, which predominantly capture scenes of the city of Dublin, were all created during the lockdown phases of the pandemic.
As such, they provide a lasting record of an extraordinary period and a reminder of the powerfully curative effect of art in times of great challenge.
The book was launched on Friday, September 23, as the artist launched a new exhibition of his lockdown work at this Ranelagh studio and gallery.
The exhibition comprises a selection of his outdoor works and figurative pieces, all executed during the three lockdown phases of the Covid-19 pandemic, spanning the period from spring 2020 to summer 2021.
The metamorphosis of his gallery allows Byrne to exhibit over 60 artworks, all of which also feature in Turning Corners, which was published by Gerard Byrne Studio to coincide with his new show.
“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,” the publishers explain.
Byrne’s lockdown odyssey began in April 2020 when he began painting 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, capturing his local area in oils and charcoal, and began venturing further afield when restrictions allowed.
These 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 is also exhibiting a series of figurative works completed during the winter lockdown when outdoor painting was not possible.
He claims the success of his artistic journey is due in no small part to the overwhelmingly positive reaction of his local community.
Fiona Slevin, Chair of the Upper Leeson Street Area Residents Association (Ulsara) has commented on the significance of this body of Byrne’s work.
“For over five decades, the Ulsara, has worked to cherish the architectural heritage and preserve community in our neighbourhood,” she said.
“Gerard’s work honours the harmony and beauty of our streetscapes and is a significant contribution to the architectural archive in itself.
“As importantly, Gerard’s paintings shine a light on these terraces and houses as homes, as our places of solace and shelter and sustenance.”
Turning Corners is available to purchase at Gerard Byrne Studio, Ranelagh and online for shipping worldwide click here.