I make paintings and drawings of New York City, its bridges, subways, and burial grounds, focusing on the tracks and geometric structures along the J train to Brooklyn. I view elevated subway stations from above and below, laying down tracks in my compositions, arranging the city’s lines, adding Tarot card skies, pink castles, and barriers that allude to changing demographics and the Covid Quarantine. Sometimes I paint my own cropped hands hanging onto suspension bridges, hovering over the city, and in flight.
Stage-like and graffiti-charged, recent series explore movement and stillness with fast diagonals and ever-waiting figures. The geometric regularity of steel girders, and the intervals between them, explores the way our eyes are conditioned to read boxes of information in a narrative fashion. Found and imagined text marks the intersection of multicultural influences, from calligraphy to street art, with stops at sites that combine Classical, Medieval, and industrial architecture.
My paintings and drawings depict the transition of a modern city, its changing neighborhoods and modes of transportation as well as its culture. Recurrent imagery includes barriers and fences, utilitarian structures, subways, streetlights, and occasional cars or people. The city provides socio-political warnings and titles for my paintings–Watch the Gap, Keep Out, and Turn Left. Themes of loneliness, exclusion, time passing (waiting for Godot), and a sense of never getting somewhere are depicted with bright colors and a tangle of marks to express the excitement of living in a challenging and constantly changing city.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Vickie Byron is an artist who paints figurative and urban subjects. Born in Washington, D.C., she received her B.F.A. with honors from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, and her M.F.A. in painting from Queens College, City University of New York. She continues to be active in her studio practice, exhibiting her paintings and drawings in galleries and museums across the country. Also a poet, her poems have been published in numerous journals, and Finishing Line Press published a chapbook of her poems, “Watered Down.” The painter lives and works in Queens, NYC.
© Vickie Byron