About David Byrd
Byrd was born in 1926 and raised in Springfield, Illinois. His life experiences include living in foster homes as a child, traveling the world as a Merchant Marine, a brief military service, and studying with the Ozenfant School of Art in New York City. From 1958-88, he worked as an orderly at
the Veteran's Administration Medical Hospital, Montrose, NY, caring for psychiatric patients damaged by the war. This experience provided him with his defining body of paintings related to the patients' individual behaviors, general routines, and distinct personalities.
In 1988, Byrd retired from the hospital, built his permanent home (mostly by himself), and devoted himself to painting
from memory the places, people and situations he had seen in his previous lives. Byrd has a subdued palette, a minimal paint surface, and compositions with a striking interrelationship of space and shape. His sculptures are combinations of handcarved wood and found materials.
While not ignorant of recent art history, Byrd's work is anachronistic in that he has remained true to the period of his formation as an artist. Though he's now 87 years old,
one senses the concerns of the artists of the 1940s, of social realism, and of genre painting. Here is that great anomaly in
the art world: a fully formed artist with a tremendous history of painting, untouched by the commercial world, but deserving of a place within the history of 20th century art.