CULTURE: New John Byrne exhibition opens at Kelvingrove

John Byrne
John Byrne’s exhibition is on display at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

The career of Scottish artist and playwright John Byrne is being celebrated in a new exhibition in Glasgow.

John Patrick Byrne – A Big Adventure at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum includes dozens of self-portraits of the Paisley-born artist.

But it also includes paintings of famous friends including Billy Connolly and Tilda Swinton, Byrne’s former partner.

“I suppose you could say it tells much of my life story,” Byrne said.

“I hope visitors enjoy it, seeing art should be fun. For me it’s certainly been a fun, big adventure all these years.”

Painting of John Byrne holding his hands upIMAGE SOURCE,JOHN BYRNE
Hands Up by John Byrne, 2006
John Byrne exhibitionIMAGE SOURCE,JOHN BYRNE
Portrait of Billy Connolly
John Byrne exhibitionIMAGE SOURCE,JOHN BYRNE
Red and Unread, 2002-2004

Byrne started his career as an apprentice mixing paint for designers at AF Stoddard & Co carpet factory in Elderslie.

He went on to study at Glasgow School of Art and later won critical acclaim for The Slab Boys – a triology of plays reflecting on his upbringing – and 1987 TV hit Tutti Frutti.

Martin Craig, a curator at Glasgow Life Museums who put the exhibition together, said: “He is, without question, one of the most important artists of the last 70 years and he is so prolific.

“We could have filled the exhibition space five times over. Deciding was hard.

“A Big Adventure is filled to the gunnels with striking artwork, I hope it captures the anarchic, jubilation and vastness of John’s life and career.”

John Byrne exhibitionIMAGE SOURCE,JOHN BYRNE
Beach Boy with Fish Bone
John Byrne exhibitionIMAGE SOURCE,JOHN BYRNE
King’s Dome mural artwork
John Byrne exhibitionIMAGE SOURCE,JOHN BYRNE
Jeanine with Flowers
John Byrne exhibitionIMAGE SOURCE,JOHN BYRNE
American Boy with Banjo, 1967-68
John Byrne exhibitionIMAGE SOURCE,JOHN BYRNE
Emma Thompson as Suzi Kettles from Tutti Frutti, 1985-86
John Byrne exhibitionIMAGE SOURCE,JOHN BYRNE
Guitar with painted portrait of Gerry Rafferty
John Byrne exhibitionIMAGE SOURCE,JOHN BYRNE
The Slab Boys original poster artwork for the Ramshorn Theatre, 2009

John Patrick Byrne – A Big AdventureĀ runs from 27 May until 18 September at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

All artwork by John Byrne

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