Byrt's current body of work looks at the changing cultural landscape of rural Ireland as it transitions from a largely agricultural to a cultural economy. By placing contemporary figures depicted exploring the former traditional sites of crossroads dances it maps the path of traditional to contemporary music culture and its connection to the landscape.
The work resides within a classical modality, relying on the position of the light mass to demonstrate space, the figure being the subject of greatest interest. Through a blend of traditional methods augmented with digital techniques, he seeks to build an intellectual model through the allegorical application of these techniques. With the thematic scaffold in place, this becomes a ‘jumping-off point’ for the exploration of the painting process and the application of paint.
The structure is provided by traditional compositional tools of Notan and the armature of the rectangle, while draped over this are alternating opaque and semi-opaque layers to build surface quality. The physical properties of light create optical mixes through the layering of different compounds by using multiple glazes to develop deep shadows or allowing the bare underpainting to push through. The use of brash artificial fabrics with recognisable branded motifs injects rhythm into otherwise static scenes that speak to the former life that filled these now quite rural spaces.