Cyanotypes of Al Girard, a traditional First Nations dancer and musician, and Curtis Phagoo, a musician and goldsmith. These are part of an exhibit by Robin Byrnes at the Kiwanis Gallery in the Red Deer Public Library until Nov. 17. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Cyanotypes of Al Girard, a traditional First Nations dancer and musician, and Curtis Phagoo, a musician and goldsmith. These are part of an exhibit by Robin Byrnes at the Kiwanis Gallery in the Red Deer Public Library until Nov. 17. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Portraits in blue by Red Deer artist Robin Byrnes

Photographic artist pays tribute to the local arts scene

Robin Byrnes set out to prove that the arts are “alive and well” in central Alberta.

The evidence can be seen in her exhibit Cyanotypes at the Kiwanis Gallery in Red Deer’s public library.

The space, operated by the Red Deer Arts Council, is full of cyan blue representations of Red Deer-area artists — from ceramicists to musicians, dancers, painters and actors.

Byrnes said in her artistic statement that she didn’t set out to find the best known artists in the area, but those who have talents in two or more different art forms — such as actor and visual artist Paul Boultbee, musician/goldsmith Curtis Phagoo, as well as painter Susan Barker and graphic artist Issy Covey, who also create ceramics.

These images and others have been caught through the cyanotype process that uses sunlight to transfer a photographic image onto paper or fabric.

Byrnes is herself a dual artist in that she started out drawing and ended up doing photography.

According to her biography, she discovered cyanotype — in which a mixture of iron compounds is exposed to UV light and washed in oxidized water to create Prussian blue images — in 2015.

She became hooked on what Byrnes describes as the “fine or flop” of it. In other words, would the final image be a failure or a happy surprise?

Since she depends on sunlight to reveal her images, Byrnes said she enjoyed “the constant monitoring of often incorrect weather forecasts and managing the multiple steps in the process so that, magically, like pancakes and syrup, they all came together, complete at the same time.”

She sees her works as an interplay of positive and negative spaces, figure and ground: “My subjects … often try to escape the confines of the rectangular” — which is an appropriate metaphor for the genre-breaking multi-talented artists she has depicted in this show.

Byrnes feels the camera has drawn her to people she might not have otherwise met.

“I have become friends with an interesting, talented and generous group of artists — all the while, learning how well the cyanotype process is suited to portraiture in my style.”

The widely travelled Byrnes, who has a bachelor of visual arts degree from the University of Victoria, hopes viewers will enjoy the exhibit and reflect on the wide array of art being created in central Alberta.

The show continues to Nov. 17.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

red deer city

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Image from Facebook)
Rocky Mountain House store bars vaccinated customers

‘No proof the vax works and no proof it does not shed’

Bloc Québécois MP Sebastien Lemire rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, March 12, 2021. A Bloc Québécois MP has apologized for taking a screen shot of a Liberal MP who inadvertently appeared nude during virtual proceedings in the House of Commons last week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Bloc Québécois MP apologizes for taking nude photo of Liberal MP William Amos

‘I have no idea how that photo made its way into the media’

FILE - This Sunday, June 25, 2017, file photo shows TK Holdings Inc. headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich. A driver in South Carolina is the latest person to be killed by an exploding Takata air bag inflator. Honda says that a faulty driver’s air bag blew apart in a crash involving a 2002 Honda Accord in Lancaster County, South Carolina. The company wouldn’t give details of the Jan. 9, 2021, crash near Charlotte, North Carolina, nor would it identify the person who was killed. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
South Carolina driver killed by exploding air bag inflator

Drivers can check to see if their vehicles have been recalled

Hospital staff shift the body of a COVID-19 patient on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance at a specialized COVID-19 hospital in Noida, a suburb of New Delhi, India, Wednesday, April 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
Low on beds, oxygen, India adds global high 314K virus cases

Government rushing oxygen tankers to replenish hospital supplies

A traveler wearing a protective mask, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, walks through the nearly empty JetBlue terminal at Logan Airport in Boston, Friday, May 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Charles Krupa
JetBlue expanding wings with service to Vancouver from New York and Boston

JetBlue will have to compete with Canadian airlines

Westerner Park’s Exhibition Hall was used as a vaccination clinic on Wednesday. A steady stream of people came to get their COVID-19 shots either by appointment or as walk-ins. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
No long lineups at walk-in vaccination site in Red Deer

A steady stream of people walked into Westerner Park on Wednesday to… Continue reading

A Blanding’s turtle (Gabrielle Fortin/Contributed)
Earth Day: Finding hope in an old sweater

During the pandemic, many of us have spent several months at home.… Continue reading

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says 1.7 million reusable masks have been ordered at a cost of $4.2 million.” (Advocate file photo).
Alberta teachers and education minister swap accusations of politicizing curriculum

EDMONTON — Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says the group representing Alberta teachers… Continue reading

FILE - In this March 19, 2021, file photo, people take pictures of the Olympic rings installed by the Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo. The vaccine rollout in Japan has been very slow with less than 1% vaccinated. This of course is spilling over to concerns about the postponed Tokyo Olympics that open in just over three months.(AP Photo/Hiro Komae, File)
Olympic bodies launch competitive series in virtual sports

Olympic body hopes to reach more young people

Linda Tomlinson
Gardening: Leave the lawn until the soil is dry

Spring is arriving, Alberta style with warm days, cold days and snow.… Continue reading

Silent protests were held recently in response to Red Deer Public Schools’ decision to reject a Pride Week in favour of a Diversity Week. Some former employees at Red Deer Public are saying the decision is misguided. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Letter: School board silencing Pride Week concern

While it has been our practice to not comment on matters arising… Continue reading

Most Read