Willamette Alumna Presents Art Lecture

Art scholar and Willamette University alumna Jennifer Hess Mouat will present a free public lecture on the work of John Byrne March 12 at Willamette University.

"A Creature of His Own Imagination: John Byrne's Theatrics with Visual Art" begins at 4 p.m. in Room 212 of the Art Building, located near the corner of State and Winter streets on the University campus. Mouat, a 1997 Willamette graduate, has a PhD from the University of St. Andrews and a master of arts degree from the University of Wales, Lampeter. She is the first academic scholar to comprehensively explore Byrne's life and work.

Byrne, an esteemed contemporary Scottish visual artist and playwright, began his career as a visual artist in the 1960s and '70s designing album covers for groups such as The Beatles, Donovan, Stealers Wheel and The Humblebums. After working as a set designer, Byrne penned his first play, Writer's Cramp, which was a smash hit at the Edinburgh Festival in 1977. Byrne's second play, The Slab Boys, debuted in 1978 to rave reviews. Traveling to the U.S. in 1983, the play starred the then-unknown Kevin Bacon, Sean Penn and Val Kilmer and was directed by Robert Allan Ackerman.

In 1987, Byrne's first work for television, Tutti Frutti, starred the then-unknown Robbie Coltrane and Emma Thompson. It won an unprecedented six BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) awards, the British equivalent of the Emmy awards.