Friday, May 02, 2014

Found Object Friday with Guest Artist Donna Zarbin-Byrne

Found Object Fridays: We artists love our collections don't we? Even as a child I remember foraging through flea markets and looking for special trinkets that caught my eye. Going for walks, to this day I find myself scanning the ground looking for interesting bits of metal or unique rocks to add to my collections. Long before I knew what I would be doing with them, I collected objects that pulled on something inside of me. As an artist I was thrilled to find there are others who love and collect little oddities and curiosities too.

Over the course of ten Fridays I am honored to introduce ten different guest artists who will share some of the objects they love. You may recognize some of these names, while others may be new to you, each one is somebody whose style I admire. Check out the photos of their found object-and in a virtual show and tell, read about how it caught their attention and what they plan to do with it. Then check out their bios and links to learn more about each artist. . .

A talented encaustic artist and metalsmith, I first heard of Donna Zarbin-Byrne when a mutual acquaintance suggested I contacted her over our common interest in encaustic wax, but sticking her contact info in my purse, I promptly forgot all about it. A few years later I joined Fused Chicago, an encaustic art organization, which Donna was also a member of, but it was not until I went to see an exhibit the group had organized that my memory was jarred. As I stood in front of Donna's installation "Bowl of Prayers" in awe of the beauty of it, I had the niggling sense that I had heard her name before. Read on for a glimpse into the fascinating way Donna views the world around her through her artistic vision, read her bio and then be sure to visit her brand new website to see more of her work.
Donna Zarbin-Byrne Found Object Friday
What is it? 
As an avid gardener, I am always looking to nature for interesting forms which I either make molds from and cast or use directly in my work. 

Donna Zarbin-Byrne Found Object Friday
Where did you find it or purchase it?
 In this case ,I have been drying banana stems and using them in a number of mixed media sculptures.
Donna Zarbin-Byrne Found Object Friday
What caught your attention about it? 
First , I love the way they hang off the trees and are suspended in space with their big purple black blossoms. But then when they dry they transcend into strange shapes reminiscent of a spinal cord. I love the way that they evoke and refer to many different biomorphic forms at once.
Donna Zarbin-Byrne Found Object Friday
How will you use it?
It becomes the jumping off point in a sculpture that I add more elements to , both found and created.I am also inspired by the way they suspend in nature and have been using them to experiment with the way the pieces are hung and suspend off the wall.

Zarbin-Byrne’s work ranges from site-specific interior and exterior installations to small, individual sculptural objects and works on paper. Critic Ann-Sargent Wooster described her as “The gardener of the dreamscape.” She integrates a vast array of materials including encaustic, bronze, ceramics, and found objects.

Her work has exhibited extensively in galleries and museums across the country from New York (The Jewish Museum) to Hawaii (Schaefer International Art Gallery, Maui). She has received numerous public and private commissions including an outdoor sculpture for the city of Evanston, IL and installations for the Moriah Congregation in Deerfield, IL, and the Liquid Packaging Corporation in Wisconsin.

Donna Zarbin-Byrne holds her BFA and MFA from the University of Texas, San Antonio, with a concentration in ceramic sculpture. She is a recipient of an Individual Artists fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and she has been awarded grants and exhibitions through the Artist in Education program, Illinois Arts Council.

Zarbin-Byrne co-founded Great Lakes Metal Works & Art Studio and Artists Restoration International, Inc., which provide custom fabrication and restoration services in metal wood and stone. Her teaching experience is expansive, ranging from universities to elementary schools. She offers workshops in mixed media and encaustic sculpture techniques. She has created public murals and spearheaded art and literacy programs for both gifted and at risk children.

Visit Donna's website at

1 comment:

  1. I've said this before, but I'm glad to see that other people pick up the same things that I do. I find it hard to walk from point A to B without finding something amazing:) its hard to tell what is cast and what is real in her pieces! Isn't that the fun of it?! Great posting, Crystal...Laura