I arise today, through the strength of heaven.
I arise today, through the strength of heaven.

Libby Byrne works as an artist, theologian, writer and researcher following the invitation and discovery of art into new ways of being with people in liminal spaces.

Working in my practice as an artist I am increasingly aware of an experience of mutuality that exists within the relationship I have with art. Within the context of this relationship, 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 and a place where I can be. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   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 and researching in the Art Therapy Programs at La Trobe University.

As a Theologian:

Libby completed a PhD with the University of Divinity, developing and trialing an art-based method of theological inquiry method. This work is a visual exploration of  ‘Healing Art and the Art of Healing’. She works as an an adjunct lecturer and Honorary Researcher Associate with the University of Divinity, developing a growing body of research in the interdisciplinary field of Practice-led Theology .

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.  She has also worked with:

  • St Stephen’s Anglican Church, Warrandyte.
  • 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.

In October 2019 Libby was a key presenter at a conversational event curated by the Centre for Music, Liturgy and the Arts.

This event drew people from around Australia and New Zealand to explore and create ideas that push the edges of worship leadership and discipleship in the 21st Century. Throughout three days of conversation Libby painted an image for the community that explored the nature of the conversation in an embodied and material way. 

 

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2019. Sink like a stone, CMLA conference, Adelaide.

The work that emerged in this 3 day event is now the stimulus for a new body of work, exploring how the material practice of art making supports our capacity for attention, attunement and atonement in public worship. Libby’s is currently working in the studio exploring how the work of art can engage different people, experiences and viewpoints, to make room for the creative, imaginative and bodily experience of the other. It seems that in this way the work of art extends our ‘…capacity to be, in some important sense, at one with the environment, stimuli, agenda, suggestion and all the rest’ . Rowan Williams

Holy, Honest Confluences

Explore the catalogue hereDon’t forget to look out for Libby’s work on  Red Bubble

Qualifications:

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:
2019    Whitley College, Parkville ‘The Nature of Things’
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:

2020
  • Brooklyn Art Library: Sketchbook project
2019
  • ACU Melbourne Gallery, Holy, Honest Confluences, (Curated by Dr Rebekah Pryor)
2018
  • Linton & Kay Galleries Perth, Mandorla Art Prize (Finalist)
2016
  • Linton & Kay Galleries Perth, Mandorla Art Prize (Finalist)
  • Kinross House Toorak, Art for Wellbeing
  • St John’s Anglican Church Diamond Creek, Breath
2013
  • CTM Parkville, ‘Conceal Reveal’
  • Chapel on Station Gallery Box Hill, ‘From Darkness into Light’
2010
  • Blake Prize: Director’s Cut Exhibition.
2008
  • 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’.
2007
  • Montsalvat, Eltham. ‘Fruition’
  • Centre for Theology and Ministry, Parkville.  ‘Incarnations’.
  • Chapel on Station Gallery, ‘Hotel Earth’ 
  • Chapel on Station Gallery, Box Hill.
2006
  • Chapel on Station Gallery, Box Hill.
2005
  • Chapel on Station Gallery, Box Hill.
  • Manningham Gallery  “The Art of Wellbeing” 
  • Artholes, Gertrude St, Fitzroy.
2003
  • Artholes, Gertrude St, Fitzroy.
2002
  •  Bright Space, St Kilda.
  •  St John’s Southbank.  Advent Exhibition.
2001
  • Treasury Exhibition  ‘Open your eyes and your imagination.’
  • Poly Courtin Gallery Melbourne
  • Eltham Library
  • Montsalvat, Eltham. ‘Fruition’
  • N.M.I.T.  Preston and Greensborough.
2000
  • Fitzroy Gallery.
  • Linden Postcard Exhibition.

 

Recent Publications / Presentations:

2020

  • Crane T, Byrne L. (2020). Risk, rupture and change: Exploring the liminal space of the Open Studio in art therapy education. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 69:10.

2019

2018

  • ‘Healing in the Absence of a Cure’, The Journal of Patient Experience.
  • Byrne, L. & Levey, L. (2018). Art Therapy and Spirituality, In Carey, L. & Mathieson, B. (Ed). Spiritual Care & Allied Health Practice, London: JKP Publishers.
  • Byrne, L. & Fenner, P. (2018). Harnessing the Tension, In Prior, R. (Ed). Using Art as Research in Learning & Teaching, Bristol, UK: Intellect Books.
  • Byrne, L. (2018). ‘Who is an artist?’  Master class presented as part of the NGV Triennial, Presented with the La Trobe Art Institute and the Master of Art Therapy program, https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/exhibition/ngv-triennial/
  • Byrne, L. (2018). Watching, Waiting and Wanting: A Practice-led theological inquiry into the question of joy
    and transcendence throughout the liturgical season of Ordinary Time. The Future of Joy and the Good Life, Yale Center for Faith and Culture, Yale Divinity School, New Haven.
  • Byrne, L., Mallaby, L, & Erwich, R. (2018). The Arts: a conversation partner in Theology. Tell it Slant Symposium:
    A Symposium on theology and the arts, St Francis College, Brisbane.

2017

  • 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.

2016

  • ‘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.

2015

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

2014

2012
2011
  • Babble-On:  A presentation reflecting on the ‘Blake Prize’ and Spiritual Formation through Arts  Practice
2010
  • 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?”  
2009
2008
  • 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’

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