Waiting in the Rain
Wexford Fringe Festival
23, October – 1, November, 2015
Review by Susan Edwards
During the season of the opera festival in the southeast of Ireland, one can stroll about the streets and alleyways of Wexford town experiencing a pleasant artistic ramble. Stores, pop up shops, rooms in the back, and other available spaces invite the viewer to a virtual visual feast. This year an exhibition of work by Kevin Ryan was held in M.A O’ Leary’s offices. Besides showing his bold portrait paintings, there was a glimpse of three new art works.
Holding a graduate degree in visual culture from IADT, Dun Laoghaire, Ryan is a Wexford based artist who was co-founder and director of an artist led organization called Studio Nine/Wexart. He lists his artistic pursuits in film, animation and drawing with this current body of work using the medium of painting. Clearly his core skill comes from drawing, showing definitive mark making with strong shapes and lines.
His pieces for the Fringe festival give an opposition in terms of mood and subject matter. The main group of paintings in the space were vivid, brightly coloured portraits with text included on the painted canvas. These paintings provided juicy drippings of raw pigment and digital images of a person, removed from the original context and reimaged by the artist. Ryan states, “in sense they are forgeries of a picture, they are authentic, but not original”. It is not such an unique idea, to create a piece of art work from the image of a photograph, but how each artist slashes, smashes or squishes their medium of choosing to present that image is unique.
Along the back wall of this space, Ryan had several new works that used the same concept of painting from the image of a photograph. These were landscapes. Lush and dewy in their mood as if a shower of rain had washed each place imagined in the paintings. There emanated a deep sense of place, of age and calm.
A greater contrast of a body of work could not be more evident. Artists often show a progression of evolving style, technique and mood. So subtle is this transformation it can be easily overlooked. It was startling as well as refreshing to see such a distinction within his art practice while the drawing skills strongly consistent.
Kevin Ryan teaches drawing workshops at the Open Gate Art Studios. A community based enterprise in The Franciscan Friary Hall, School Street, Wexford Town. Workshops of other artistic mediums are available with all levels participating.
For further information, contact the artist:
Susan Edwards M.A. /ACW National College of Art & Design, Dublin