THE DRAMATIC GESTURE to Open Franklin Stage Company's 21st Season
The Franklin Stage Company is honored to open their 21st season with "The Dramatic Gesture: Paintings of David Byrd." The exhibit, part of the 22nd Annual Stagecoach Run Art Festival, opens with a reception Saturday, July 1st from 5:00-7:00 pm at FSC's Chapel Hall. The show features a number of iconic paintings by the late artist and former Delaware County resident, whose sculpture, drawings and watercolors have been exhibited across the US.After having served in the Army during WWII, Mr. Byrd studied on the GI bill at the Dolphin School of Art in Philadelphia and later at the Ozenfant School of Art on NY's Lower East Side. He toiled away for many years in relative obscurity, taking a series of menial jobs so he could paint. The artist worked for many years as an orderly in a psychiatric ward at the Veterans Administration Medical Hospital in Montrose, NY. In 1988, at age 62, he retired from the hospital and moved to Sydney Center where he built a house, and devoted himself to painting full time in the peace and tranquility of his surroundings. It was here that he painted -largely from memory - what would become his defining work: the people, places and situations of his past, in particular, his experiences at the VA Hospital. Mr Byrd's work, formal in composition yet almost translucent in color, explores the fragile beauty of the many inhabitants and the pain of their illness and isolation. A chance meeting with a neighbor in 2012 led to the artist's first professional exhibit - at age 87. This exhibit, David Byrd-Introduction: A Life of Observation, was mounted by the Greg Kucera Gallery in Seattle and featured over 85 drawings, paintings and sculptures. By the end of the exhibit, most of the work had sold. The recognition which had eluded David Byrd so long was at last his. FSC Board member and former MOMA Preparator Jack Siman who curated the exhibit notes, "Byrd's work captures the guileless movements of actors on life's stage, moving with the grace of non-self-conscious players. It's a fitting exhibition for the gallery of a theater." The exhibit will run as part of, and concurrent with, The Stagecoach Run Art Festival, Saturday July 1 and Sunday July 2, 10 am-5 pm. It is also the first stop on "David Byrd Ten Stops" billed as a Scenic Road Trip, featuring the home and studio of the artist as well as 10 exhibitions of his work from July - September, Brooklyn to Seattle. The Franklin Stage Company exhibit will remain in Chapel Hall until July 30, with gallery hours Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm. It will also be viewable in the theater before performances and during intermission. The show is sponsored by the Erna McReynolds & Tom Morgan Artists-in-Collaboration Fund. For more information: www.franklinstagecompany.org or 607-829-3700.