Teresa Zerafa Byrne is a London-based multi-disciplinary artist who explores embodied perception and memory.
For Teresa, it’s always “the idea that choses the medium” – which means she is constantly experimenting with materials such as textiles, paints, acrylic glass and tissue paper to find the appropriate medium for the subject matter she wishes to convey. Teresa dextrously layers her materials, creating evocative textures and luminous colours that offer the viewer a glimpse into a past state of mind. Teresa’s artworks featured this month across ArtULTRA’s platforms are testament to her curiosity and experimentation.
Teresa has always been “fascinated by the intangible yet evident workings of the mind.” During her BA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art & Design, she developed her own theory about how we imaginatively construct memory. Much like the Clay Ketter’s Wall Paintings or Robert Rauschenberg Combines, Teresa believes the mind constructs a memory by collating disparate abstracted elements like forms, shapes, scents, and colours. Her works aim to spark such a recollection or “retelling” of a memory in the viewer’s own mind.
In 2020, Teresa graduated from Central Saint Martins with an MA in Art & Science. Throughout her masters, Teresa developed a new, more investigative strand to her practice, in which she explored the nature of hyperphantasia (the condition of having extremely vivid mental imagery). Investigating the mind’s eye and how it affects our perception of art led Teresa to develop her most recent series of mixed media wall-based pieces based on the essential details of certain individuals’ personal experiences. This ‘Memory Skeleton’ series aims to reduce a core set of elements (what Teresa defines as the ‘bones’ of an experience) which are consistent and prominent in a person’s retelling of the same memory. “By defining this set of details and abstracting them,” Teresa explains, “I am hopefully able to make the experience open to interpretation by the viewer.”
Teresa is brimming with excitement and ideas for the coming year. She is considering applying for further study and has started to experiment with print-making and weaving. Her practice remains fundamentally rooted in materiality: the qualities and implications of materials, and a love for “getting my hands dirty.” Having won the Cass Art Postgraduate Award 2020 and exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery that same year, Teresa managed to gain some well-deserved exposure despite the pandemic. She is hoping to show her work even more this year, in order to find new audiences and potential collectors.