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Robert Byerley

 (born 1941)
Robert Byerley is active/lives in Missouri, Kansas.  Robert Byerley is known for trompe l'oeil still life painting, trompe.

Robert Byerley

Biography from the Archives of askART

Bob Byerley is a realist oil painter of nostalgic Americana.  Born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1941, he now (2003) lives with his wife in a large Victorian home in the Harry S. Truman historic district of Independence, Missouri.  The quiet, shady, tree lined streets and old brick sidewalks where children still ride homemade scooters are backdrops and ever inspiring theatrical sets on which Byerley creates the themes for his paintings.

Educated in the Old Masters Tradition of painting, receiving his B.A. and M.A. degrees in art from the University of Missouri, he rigidly defends the concepts of strong compositional design and content in his paintings. "Content," Byerley explains, "has to do with the truths of life that we find around us. Truths can not be artificially staged, affected, conjured up, created, or invented to be sympathetic or trendy in a painting. They occur simply, spontaneously and without effort in the moments on canvas."

"Many of the ideas I express in my paintings," Byerley goes on to say, "came from my childhood before television. I grew up in the middle of the city in a house that was, strangely enough, surrounded by twenty blocks of dense woods; each season, those woods were the magic place where our childhood imaginations ran totally free. We dug swimming pools that we ambitiously planned to open for next summer, we built the highest tree houses kids had ever built, we felled trees and filled rabbit holes in order to create five cent a turn bicycle obstacle courses, and we collected. We collected marvelous things. We collected castaway items from the dump that became elaborate scooters and push cars, forts, lemonade stands, airplanes, rafts, spook houses and miniature golf courses. I remember and love those times and that is what I choose to paint."

Byerley continues: "In order for an artist to get his idea across or communicate with the viewer he must use universally recognized symbols in his paintings, symbols that all viewers can relate to and understand. Problems occur with some art, when the painter makes up symbols that he may understand but the viewer does not. This often occurs when the artist is working in an abstract or non-representational mode. It's much like a person trying to read a great novel, written in a foreign language that he does not understand. The material is there, but it is incomprehensible to the reader. My symbols are the realistic interpretations of children's faces, which are universal." Therein lie the reasons that Byerley's paintings have enjoyed worldwide acceptance and popularity. The smile of a child is understood around the world.

Source: World Wide Art

Biography from the Archives of askART
The following is from Fred McCraw, Art Writer:

The Kansas City Star reported in a Sunday Star Magazine article that Mr. Byerley was born in 1941 in Kansas City, Missouri.

While his early paintings are noted for their representational realism, they paradoxically were unusually surrealist as well. Mr. Byerley used vivid textural representations of materials (leather, lace, chipping and peeling paint, wrinkled cloth etc.) to achieve such effects.

His children paintings continue that approach but with the added effect of imagined surreal childhood memories made real by the artist's use of strong textural detail.

Biography from Southwest Gallery

Bob Byerley, master of "trompe l'oeil", is known for his super-realistic interpretations of Americana and surrealist themes. 

In his works the eye is introduced to new horizons as his treatment of "trompe l'oeil" is taken beyond any previous interpretations.  The attention to extreme detail produces lace painted by each thread; shimmering crystal; dew drops on flowers; weathered woods, not to mention portraits that appear to live!

This artist's oil paintings inhabit a sense of drama, heightened by superb lighting and the introduction of cherished memories to stimulate all who view his paintings in person.

The intricacy of his work restricts the number of paintings Byerley can complete within a year.  His dedication to painting begins with eight hours or more, five to seven days a week.  Byerley's devotion to making each painting better than the last has sparked continuing interest by collectors.

Byerley received a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Art in Art from the University of Missouri in Columbia in 1965.  He taught junior high school, high school and college until sales of his paintings demanded his full attention in 1970.

He has had numerous one-man shows around the United States.  His paintings are in many collections.

Artist statement:

"I believe that in every great painting, sculpture, literary work or piece of music, there are certain basic truths.

In painting that truth can be the turn of a head, the sunlight caressing a hand, the movement of a graceful line or the combination of items that gently return you to the pleasant memories of the past.  In life those truths happen simply, quietly, and naturally. They cannot be contrived, staged, faked or manipulated.

I use realism as my vehicle to convey my idea or message to the viewer and as an invitation to share with me those truths I have discovered."

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About  Robert Byerley

Born:  1941 - Kansas City, Missouri
Known for:  trompe l'oeil still life painting, trompe