Michael Byron

Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art

In the work of Michael Byron problems of identity emerge from different backgrounds, suggesting questions to the viewer, only to disappear again into the monochrome ground of the painting. Forms, numbers, and letters are neatly separated from one another. Clearly distinguished as autonomous, independent phenomena, they are combined with each other in a composition that creates a kind of theater of the absurd. In these different exhibitions, series and thematic complexes are apparent. Byron plunders an entire trove of symbols, and variously arranges them on panels. Their interconnections must be read, interpreted, and filled in by the viewer. Letters, numbers, illustrations from old schoolbooks, and historical citations are symbolic forms of the artist’s dream trip through a manipulated past. In his more recent “image paintings,” these combinations and chance arrangements on nearly

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