The Path

I arise today, through the strength of heaven.

I arise today, through the strength of heaven.

Working as an Artist I have been aware of an experience of mutuality that exists within the relationship I have with art.   Within the context of this relationship, I have learned that art is much more than a resource to be mastered or manipulated in the communication of an idea.  In fact the important thing is not what I can do with art, but what art can do with me.   When I am open and alive to these possibilities, art becomes a path on which I can travel. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Libby Byrne

Let it go. Let it out.
Let it all unravel.
Let it free and it can be
A path on which to travel.
(Michael Leunig).

As an Artist:

Libby’s art making practice is a means to explore questions of meaning and existence that capture her attention. Within the studio she is seeking to discover ideas, images and experiences that will extend the way she thinks, perceives and responds to these questions. Within her practice she explores that which is particular and also shared in the experience of being human, whilst seeking and sometimes finding the presence of God in those places. In this way, her studio practice is theology in the making.

As an Art Therapist:

Over the past decade Libby has worked as an art therapist in the public health sector in Melbourne, with a particular focus in Palliative Care.  Libby has specialized in assisting people to use art as a means of honouring and reflecting on significant life experiences as well as creating opportunities to develop meaningful and personal ritual in and around the experience of death. Libby now works as a Lecturer, teaching in the Art Therapy Programs at La Trobe University.

As a Theologian:

Libby completed a PhD with the University of Divinity, developing and trialling an art-based method of theological inquiry method. This work is a visual exploration of  ‘Healing Art and the Art of Healing’. She now works as an adjunct lecturer with Whitley College and an Honorary Post-Doctoral Researcher with the UD. Over the past decade, Libby has been engaged to develop liturgical images that feed the spiritual health of congregations and communities.  These images challenge and engage people with questions of ultimate concern.  Libby has engaged ‘art in ministry’ with:

  • Merri Creek Anglican
  • Box Hill Baptist Church.
  • Brunswick Uniting Church.
  • Centre for Theology and Ministry, Parkville.
  • Chapel on Station Gallery, Box Hill.
  • Hartwell Church of Christ.
  • St John’s Anglican Church, Diamond Creek.
  • St Stephen’s Anglican Church, Belmont.
  • All Saints Anglican Church, Greensborough.

Look our for Libby’s work on Red Bubble

This summer Libby is working with the La Trobe Art Institute and the Master of Art Therapy program to offer a weekend of Master classes as part of the NGV Triennial.

Who is an artist?

In this workshop Libby will lead participants to explore questions of identity and meaning that arise in such a declaration. We will consider some of the philosophical and theoretical constructs that inform our understanding of what it means to be an artist and ask how it is that some people are able to claim this sense of identity whilst others do not. Is the artist’s identity determined by a particular social currency or is it something that emanates from a more implicit and primal need to explore the questions of human existence? Does the choice to identify and work as an artist in turn redefine the possibilities for how we can live, both individually and communally?

Working with what we have.

In his novel ‘Theft’, Peter Carey sheds light on the experience of art making saying, “As is true so often, it was the limitation of the materials that made the art”. In this workshop we will consider our assumptions about the materials that are needed to make art and the possibilities for working with materials that are simply ‘at hand’. Participants will explore the experience of making and re-making, erasing, working with and over an existing image in the material creation of a palimpsest.


2016     Doctor of Philosophy University of Divinity
2010     Graduate Diploma of Theology Melbourne College of Divinity
2003     Master of Art Therapy La Trobe University
2002     Diploma of Visual Arts N.M.I.T.
1989     Bachelor of Education Deakin University
1987     Bachelor of Arts Deakin University
Solo Exhibitions:
2016    Tacit Contemporary Art, Abbotsford ‘An Ordinary Gift’’
2015    Chapel on Station Gallery, Box Hill ‘Everything is Breath’’
2014    Chapel on Station Gallery, Box Hill ‘Untitled’’
2013    Chapel on Station Gallery, Box Hill ‘Departure’’
2011     Kinross House, Toorak ‘Vision over Visibility’
2010    Chapel on Station Gallery, Box Hill ‘Exploring the Watery Shores’
2008    Montsalvat, Eltham ‘In the Beginning’
2006    Chapel on Station Gallery, Box Hill ‘Resolve’
2005    Chapel on Station Gallery, Box Hill ‘Deep Cries Out to Deep’
2005    Chapel on Station Gallery, Box Hill ‘Infusing Hope’
2004    Wellspring Centre, Ashburton ‘Please God…Where is my mother?’
2002    Q’dos Gallery, Lorne ‘Stretching Beyond Reason’
1999     Fitzroy Gallery, Fitzroy ‘Throwing Open the Doors’
1998    Fitzroy Gallery, Fitzroy ‘Compelling Depths’

Group Exhibitions:

  • Linton & Kay Galleries Perth, Mandorla Art Prize (Finalist)
  • Kinross House Toorak, Art for Wellbeing
  • St John’s Anglican Church Diamond Creek, Breath
  • CTM Parkville, ‘Conceal Reveal’
  • Chapel on Station Gallery Box Hill, ‘From Darkness into Light’
  • Blake Prize: Director’s Cut Exhibition.
  • Chapel on Station Gallery.    ‘Voice for the Voiceless’ 
  • Parliament House,Canberra.   ‘Voice for the Voiceless’ 
  • Chapel on Station Gallery.   ‘Just Outside the Comfort Zone’ 
  • Augustine Centre, Hawthorn.  ‘One People, Many Faiths’.
  • Montsalvat, Eltham. ‘Fruition’
  • Centre for Theology and Ministry, Parkville.  ‘Incarnations’.
  • Chapel on Station Gallery, ‘Hotel Earth’ 
  • Chapel on Station Gallery, Box Hill.
  • Chapel on Station Gallery, Box Hill.
  • Chapel on Station Gallery, Box Hill.
  • Manningham Gallery  “The Art of Wellbeing” 
  • Artholes, Gertrude St, Fitzroy.
  • Artholes, Gertrude St, Fitzroy.
  •  Bright Space, St Kilda.
  •  St John’s Southbank.  Advent Exhibition.
  • Treasury Exhibition  ‘Open your eyes and your imagination.’
  • Poly Courtin Gallery Melbourne
  • Eltham Library
  • Montsalvat, Eltham. ‘Fruition’
  • N.M.I.T.  Preston and Greensborough.
  • Fitzroy Gallery.
  • Linden Postcard Exhibition.


Recent Publications / Presentations:


  • ‘Healing in the Absence of a Cure’, The Journal of Patient Experience, (in press).
  • Byrne, L. & Levey, L. (2018). Art Therapy and Spirituality, In Carey, L. & Mathieson, B. (Ed). Spiritual Care & Allied Health Practice, London: JKP Publishers, (in press).
  • Byrne, L. & Fenner, P. (2018). Harnessing the Tension, In Prior, R. (Ed). Using Art as Research in Learning & Teaching, Bristol, UK: Intellect Books. (in press).
  • Fenner, P. & Byrne, L. (2018). Is all art making ethical? Dilemmas posed by making response art by trainee art therapists, In Audrey Di Maria, A. (2018). Exploring Ethical Dilemmas in Art Therapy, Abingdon, Oxon, UK: Taylor & Francis. (in press).


  • Mallaby, A. & Byrne, L. An Ordinary Gift: the work of art as theological conversation. PACIFICA, 30 (2) 158-176.
  • O’Callaghan, C., Byrne, L., Cokalis, E., Glenister, D., Santilli, M., Clark, R., McCarthy, T., & Michael, N. “Life within the person comes to the fore”: Pastoral workers’ perspectives on using arts in palliative care. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care. (SJR 1.283 in process) .
  • ‘Practice-led theology: The studio as a site for theology in the making’. Theology, 120(3) 197–207. (SJR 0.137).
  • ‘Embroidered Cancer Comic, Sima Elizabeth Shefrin (2016)’, Journal of Applied Arts and Health, 8(1), 118-120.


  • ‘The art of exclusion and embrace’, Journal of Disability and Religion, 20(4), 361-364. (SJR 0.206).
  • Arts & Christianity Enquiry (ACE) International Conference, Dublin. Practice-led Theological Inquiry: The studio as a site for theology in the making. 
  • ‘Grounded in the Sacred’, Colloquium:The Australian and New Zealand Theological Review, Vol 48, No.2.
  • ‘Resurrection: A Daily Navigation’, The Australian Journal of Liturgy, Vol.15, No.1.
  • ‘The Art of Exclusion and Embrace’, Journal of Disability and Religion, Vol. 20, No.4.


  • Grounding the Sacred through Literature and the Arts, ACU Sydney.  Grounded in the Sacred.


  • Babble-On:  A presentation reflecting on the ‘Blake Prize’ and Spiritual Formation through Arts  Practice
  • Arts and Health Conference Presentation. Person Centred Art Making – An Intervention for Minimising the Impact of Depression and Dementia 
  • The Witness:  Special Feature Eater edition. “What if this gets worse?”  
  • Byrne, E. Exploring the role of the prophet and the nature of prophecy: An artist enters the conversation. Reo: Journal of Theology and Ministry, Churches of Christ
  • Image: Christ and Art in Asia: Issue 115. ‘Images of Liberation’.
  • Gesher. Vol.3 No.5 Sept, 2008 ‘Then God Expands’