Roger BYRT

Roger Byrt uses Old Master composition and glazing techniques to create exquisite abstract paintings. Former acting head of Painting at Monash University, Byrt regards his work as essentially metaphysical. Strongly influenced by the Scuola Metafisica artists like Giorgio de Chirico and Carlo Carra, Byrt's paintings depict eternal qualities of light, space and form, drawing on surrealist metaphors.

Byrt's still-life abstracts place objects in disjunctive juxtaposition. Forms emerge from dark grounds, highlighted with dramatic chiaroscuro, like the folds of drapery in a Caravaggio painting. "I love painting objects that, to me, possess monumental and magical qualities. I don't like the idea of explaining the artwork ' I try to title evocatively so as to provide a handle for the viewer. I firmly believe that a good painting should present more questions to people than answers. I'm interested in making beautiful things".

Spaces are ambiguous; at times the ground and form merge. "I have more friends who are sculptors than painters. There is certainly a sculptural element to my work, it almost straddles the two media."

Melbourne art critic Robert Nelson has said of Roger's work: "There is an element of compositional rigor in the works and the arguments within them between surface and illusionistic depth. Though poetic, there is no rhapsodic dimension: they are all intellectually engineered to form spaces, shadows and reflection. Byrt's pictorial process has a great purity."

Roger Byrt studied at the Caulfield Institute of Technology (BA, Fine Art Painting) and at R.M.I.T. (MA, Project). From 1989 until 2001 he was appointed Part Time Lecturer at Monash University and in 1999 he was acting Head of Painting, Faculty of Art and Design, Monash University. In 2000 Roger Byrt received the Ian Potter Foundation Grant (with Rob McGauran Architects) for Carravaggio in 3D. Byrt's work is represented in public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art at Heide, Monash University, and R.M.I.T. and in many corporate and private collections in Australia, Asia and Europe.