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It's relatively rare for an established Seattle art gallery to host a painter's first-ever commercial exhibition. But it's almost unheard of for an unknown artist to break into the art world at the age David Byrd finds himself to be.David Byrd, from upstate New York, is making his gallery debut at the startling age of 87.One hundred of his works, mostly [Link Removed] but also drawings and wood sculptures, are now on display at Seattle's famed Greg Kucera Gallery. And the subjects of his work are as varied as his life has been.Born in 1926, he was raised in three different foster homes, travelled to both Europe and Asia as a merchant marine during the 40's, attended art school on the G.I. Bill, and then settled into a life as an orderly in the psychiatric ward of a veteran's hospital. Since his retirement in the late 80's, he's mostly lived a hermit's life in a house he built with his own hands.
Not surprsingly, many of his paintings reflect his 30 year career on the psych ward with apt titles like "Catatonic," "Lobotomy, " and "Hostile Patient." Despite their often downbeat titles and troubled subject matter, the paintings themselves are remarkably placid and subdued, full of pastel colors and structural balance. It's as if Byrd adopted Wordworth's definition of poetry for his own paintings - "emotion recollected in tranquility."

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