Henry Byrne (1985, born and raised in London) has his first solo exhibition in the Netherlands during the Amsterdam Gallery Weekend 2020. He shows paintings by artists that he has appropriated with the permission of his befriended makers. The canvases are provided with a voile-like paint layer and commented with text. One of the works bears the text "Tell me when to stop, OK?" and this is also the title of the exhibition.
In the back room (AP) is a painted inflatable palm tree on an island around which hang his own paintings, which are characterized by a double layer. He always creates holes in the top canvas layer so that the underlying painting partly appears.
Sometimes he does this optically and sometimes literally. It is a method of working that he has used in his work for many years, occasionally using paper that is discoloured by the sun.
The question is what the white-painted inflatable palm-trees-on-an-island in the exhibition represents. Henry Byrne says that the painting “Fantasy Island” (2020) refers to his Irish-English origin. As an Englishman and islander, he sees himself as European, but he has lived on the European continent for a number of years and is more aware than ever of where he is located. According to him, that awareness from here and there gives a distorted picture of where he comes from. He describes this as a paradox, a collision between a physical and an emotional world.
Henry Byrne: “I am from an island; as an islander I have a perspective of an Irish England person. However, I am now abroad. So, I can look at my own island perspective as an insular thing and take as the 'exotic' perspective. The inflatable island is painted white so it can be repainted again, like a starting point.”
For this exhibition, the following artists generously donated one or more of their disapproved canvases:
KIMBALL GUNNAR HOLTH
JOCHEM VAN DEN WIJNGAARD