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Robert Ryan The Passage Of Time


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Peppercanister Gallery


Robert Ryan Peppercanister Gallery Dublin 16 November – 1 December 2012

Peppercanister Editions

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This book was published by the Peppercanister Gallery on the occasion of the exhibition Robert Ryan 16 November – 1 December 2012 Peppercanister Gallery, Dublin, Ireland Copyright © the artists, the authors and the Peppercanister Gallery. Peppercanister Gallery 3 Herbert Street, Dublin 2, Ireland T: +353 (0) 1 6611279 E: info@peppercanister.com www.peppercanister.com All rights reserved. No part of this publications may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, elecrical, mechanical or otherwise, without first seeking the written permission of the copyright owners and of the publisher. Photographer Stephen West Editor Hannah Brogan Co-Editor Kathryn Murphy Printing and lithography Blurb


Contents

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Introduction

9

Q+A

15

Plates

39

Biography

43

Solo Exhibitions

45

Group Exhibitions

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Collections

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Peppercanister Gallery


Introduction

Hauntingly beautiful and precisely rendered, Robert Ryan’s work is often miniature in scale, but always large in impact. Grounded in the post modern tradition with allusions to classical landscapes, his evocative paintings celebrate the universality of life and explore themes of nature, spirituality, truth and innocence.

By utilizing a generic non-specific four legged animal, Ryan creates an otherworldly landscape that is at once strange and yet familiar, drawing us into his imagined macrocosmos and asking questions about the nature of and cycle of life.

Ryan was born in Limerick and lives and works in the environs of Lough Gur, the mythical beauty of which is echoed in his work. He graduated from Limerick School of Art and Design in 1987, and has travelled extensively visiting over 60 countries on all continents. His interests in travel and zoology inform his work, posing the questions that he answers so eloquently in paint.

He has exhibited extensively in Ireland and abroad and his work is included in many important collections including the National Portrait Collection, National Contemporary Drawing Collection and Office of Public Works Collection. This will be his first solo show at Peppercanister Gallery.

Bryan Murphy Director Peppercanister Gallery

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Q+A

Interview With Robert Ryan November 2012.

Your work alludes to post-modernism, but at the same time makes reference to a more classical style. Are there any artists, past or present, that you draw inspiration from?

There are many artists that I admire, past and present. My imagery gravitates to 19th century Romantic painting, particularly the work of Caspar David Friedrich. Melancholy, solitude and a search for spirit is what attracts me to Romanticism. I appreciate the downto-earth honesty (and sometimes dark humor) of the Realists. Artists like Goya, Courbet and Daumier. Swiss Symbolist painter Arnold Bouklin’s haunting images like ‘Island of the Dead’ have had a direct influence on my paintings. I’m drawn to the sheer intensity of Edvard Munch’s work. The purity with which the German Expressionist Franz Marc depicts animals, the sublime beauty of nothingness created by Mark Rothko, and Damien Hirst’s concepts on existence and mortality.

You use a non-specific animal as a physical representation of lost souls. How did you come to decide on the appearance of the creature?

Through evolution the majority and most successful land creatures are four-legged (I use this as a generalisation). It is important that both the creature and landscape are nonspecific. By stripping away description to allow me emphasise and express pure truths like solitude, yearning, wonderment, maternity and innocence. Both creature and landscape are modified to express something.

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When did you realize that you were an artist?

Shortly after entering art college I discovered that art is a visual form of communication or language. That it’s a way of describing and interpreting the world. A way of communicating ideas and expressing emotions. It was then that I knew what I would be doing for the rest of my life.

How would you describe yourself as an artist?

I would see myself as an artist with a deep-rooted fascination about commonality and other animal groups. I paint because of what I want to paint.

You have travelled the world extensively. Would you say that there is any one, or number of places you’ve visited, that particularly inspires you?

In 1993 I traveled in Africa. I spent several months traveling through different eco-systems, encountering many wildlife species. The experience gave me a concrete grounding, a certainty on how to develop my hybrid creature. But I believe every experience informs.

Can you explain a little bit about your choice to utilize the miniature?

I love the intimacy and intricacy of working so small. I have the same amount of problem solving in a small painting as I do in a larger one. But I love creating a big image in a tiny size. I have been working on a small scale since the late 1990s. But I became more interested in miniature painting after I visited India twelve years ago. This exhibition is made up of large and small paintings. Only one painting could qualify in size to be called a miniature.

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Peppercanister Gallery


You describe the landscape in your work as universal. Lough Gur, where you currently live, is renowned for its rich history and picturesque setting. Are your day-to-day surroundings echoed in the seemingly mythical landscapes depicted?

The creature occupies a landscape in almost every painting I make. But I am not a landscape painter. The topographies I create are rendered as part of the concept, mood and message of the painting. I have lived in Lough Gur for most of my life. It’s an evocative, haunting oasis in the Golden Vale, the mood of which is definitely echoed in my work. But when you are so close to something you become part of it. By being a part of it you almost become unaware or unconscious of the affect it has on you. But yes, it is echoed in my work.

Light has a strong presence in your artwork. What importance do you place on the use of light?

Together with space and form, light has a huge importance in my paintings and drawings. It can give spirit and mood to an image. Sometimes I try to take things further to create something unsettling, unearthly. I have studied at great length how the great artists have used light used light. The Italianate sky’s of Aelbert Cuyp and Claude Lorrain. The dramatic one light source of Michelangelo and Caravaggio. The almost spiritual light of Da Vinci and Rembrandt. The eerie low light of the American artist Edward Hopper.

Your work is quite otherworldly. Would you describe yourself as a spiritual person?

Spirituality is definitely present as I make the work. But am I a spiritual person? That is a big question! It would be too easy to say yes without really thinking. But to be truly honest, I don’t know. I would say that I am a content person. I live and let live. I feel the quiet moment of the day and the depth of night. I wonder at the existence of everything and why. Does that make me a spiritual person?

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What was or is your favorite fairytale, fable or legend?

Lough Gur is rich in folk-lore and legend. My anthropomorphic animals suggest a preoccupation with stories. It is true to an extent. But much more importantly I feel my work celebrates ‘the creature that is you, me and them’.

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right Robert Ryan Passing Cloud oil on canvas 91 x 120 cm

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Robert Ryan Guardians oil on board 18 x 26 cm

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Robert Ryan The Entrance oil on board 18 x 26 cm

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left to right Robert Ryan Siblings Playing In The Evening Sun oil on board 18 x 26 cm Robert Ryan Siblings Waiting At The Cave Entrance oil on board 18 x 26 cm

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right Robert Ryan The Hermit oil on board 18 x 26 cm

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Robert Ryan The Curious Moon oil on board 18 x 26 cm

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Robert Ryan To The Open Sea oil on canvas 91 x 120 cm

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left to right Robert Ryan The Big Sleep charcoal and conte on card 18 x 26 cm Robert Ryan The Forest Cryer oil on board 18 x 26 cm

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Robert Ryan Sending an SOS oil on canvas 91 x 120 cm

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left to right Robert Ryan Shelter oil on board 18 x 26 cm Robert Ryan The Search For God oil on canvas 91 x 120 cm

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Peppercanister Gallery


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Robert Ryan The Forest Beetle charcoal and conte on card 18 x 26 cm

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Peppercanister Gallery


Robert Ryan The Shadow Chaser charcoal and conte on card 18 x 26 cm

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right Robert Ryan Full Moon oil on board 18 x 26 cm

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Robert Ryan A Day oil on board 3 x 12 cm (each panel)

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Robert Ryan Sun Worship oil on board 18 x 26 cm

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right Robert Ryan Sunrise oil on board 18 x 26 cm

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Biography

1963

Born in Limerick, Ireland

1983-1987

Limerick School of Art & Design, Limerick, Ireland

Lives and works in Lough Gur, Co Limerick, Ireland

Born in Limerick, Robert Ryan graduated from Limerick School of Art and Design in 1987. He worked in Copenhagen and London before returning to Ireland in 1994.

In Ireland Ryan’s work is viewed as somewhat unique. Referencing post-modern, it borrows qualities from European old masters, using traditional characteristics in a modern context. Robert Ryan paints landscape, but his work cannot be described as ‘landscape painting’.

Allegorical concepts such as the infinity of space and time, solitude, vulnerability, fragility and the cycle of life are explored in his paintings and drawings in which a generic four-legged creature is central. This creature inhabits another world, a universal landscape. Ryan has cultivated his images of both place and it’s inhabitants into a hybrid, a non-specific and as a result the viewer is left to reflect on essential truths. This is work that ultimately celebrates the commonality between man and all other creatures past, present and future.

An interest in zoology and travel has hugely informed Ryan’s work. He has traveled widely, visiting over sixty countries on all continents where he has encountered many different eco-systems, experiencing first hand how all living things interact, how they respond to their environment, how man responds to other evolutionary groups and how we value that fact. This knowledge forms a major part of the concepts for his work.

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Robert Ryan lives and works in Lough Gur, Co. Limerick, Ireland. Lough Gur is a small placid lake, surrounded by rugged limestone hills and deciduous woodland. It has been continuously inhabited since the arrival of neolithic people five thousand years ago. It is a place of outstanding archaeological significance. Ruins and artifacts from many periods of Irish history have been found here. The evocative qualities of this environment have been a constant source of inspiration for his work.

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Solo Exhibitions

2013

Naughton Gallery, Queens University, Belfast, N.I.

2012

Peppercanister Gallery, Dublin, Ireland

2010

Themes, Motifs, Aspect,. Limerick Printmakers, Limerick, Ireland

2009

Between Worlds, Wexford Festival Opera, Wexford, Ireland

2008

The Spirit Inside, Chris Doswell Gallery, Rosscarbery , Ireland

Sanctury, Tynan Gallery, Portlaois, Ireland

2006

A Place of Refuge, Hallward Gallery, Dublin, Ireland

Pilgrims, Hunt Museum, Limerick, Ireland

2004

Earth and Sky, Moulin Gallery, Limerick, Ireland,

The Search for Paradise, Courthouse Art Centre, Tinahelly & Market House, Monaghan, Ireland

2002

Lost Souls, Wexford Arts Centre, Wexford, Ireland

2000

A Dark Empty Place, Belltable Arts Centre, Limerick, Ireland

1998

After the Final Sunset, South Tipperary Arts Centre, Clonmel, Ireland

1995

New Works, Arts Council, Dublin, Ireland

1988

New Works, Galleri Henning, Copenhagen, Denmark

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Group Exhibitions

2012

Annual Exhibition, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland

2011

Annual Exhibition, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland

Annual Exhibition, Ulster Royal Academy, Belfast, N.I.

Five Painters, The Source Arts Centre, Thurles, Ireland

2010

Annual Exhibition, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland An Éire of the Senses, World Expo, Shanghai, China

2009 Annual Exhibition, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland

Annual Exhibition, Ulster Royal Academy, Belfast, N.I.

Two Person Show with David Begley. Norman Gallery, Co, Wexford, Ireland

2008 Annual Exhibition, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland

Annual Exhibition, Royal Ulster Academy, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Irish Contemporary Art, Orlando, USA

30th Anniversary Exhibition, Oisin Gallery, Dublin, Ireland

Oireachtas, Dublin, Ireland

2007

Annual Exhibition, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland

Made in Ireland, Beijing & Shanghi, China

Boyle Arts Festival, Co Roscommon, Ireland

2006 Annual Exhibition, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland

Irish Contemporary Art, John Martin Gallery, at Lilique, New York, USA

Eigse 2006, Carlow, Ireland

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2005 Annual Exhibition, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland

Into the Jungle, John Martin Gallery, London, England

Eigse 2005, Carlow, Ireland

2004 Annual Exhibition, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland

Myth and Magic, John Martin Gallery, London, England

2003 Annual Exhibition, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland

Oireachtas, Dublin, Ireland

Ochtar, Hunt Museum, Limerick, Ireland

2002 Oireachtas, Dublin, Ireland 2001

Eigse, Carlow, Ireland

Group Show, Blue Leaf Gallery, Dublin, Ireland

Oireachtas, Dublin, Ireland

Visions, Hallward Gallery, Dublin, Ireland

Joy, Galway City Gallery. Ireland

2000 Oireachtas, Dublin, Ireland

lontas, Sligo, Ireland

Irish Art, The Vine Gallery, Louisville, Kentucky, USA

1999 lontas, Sligo, Ireland 1998

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New Works, Dye House Gallery, Waterford, Ireland

Four by Eight, Wexford Arts Centre, Wexford, Ireland

Oireachtas, Dublin, Ireland

lontas, Sligo, Ireland

EV+A 98, Limerick, Ireland

SOS 98, Ardgillen Castle Dublin.


1997

Annual Exhibition, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland

Annual Exhibition, Royal Ulster Academy, Belfast, Northern Ireland

New Works, Anna Von Gosslin Gallery, Dublin, Ireland

Art International, Wemyss Gallery, Sydney, Australia

1996

Perishing Permanence, Dolmen Gallery, Limerick, Ireland lontas, Sligo, Ireland

1993

Group Show, On the Pool Gallery, London, England

1991

Group Show, Atrium Gallery, London, England

1990 Group Show, Open Studios, White Chapel Gallery, London, England 1998

Group Show, Galleri Henning, Copenhagen, Denmark

1987

Juxtaposition, Limerick City Gallery

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Collections

National Contemporary Drawing Collection National Portrait Collection Office of Public Works, Ireland RTE, Lyric FM, Ireland Limerick City Gallery Limerick County Council, Ireland Wexford County Council, Ireland Wexford Art Centre, Ireland Limerick City Gallery Ireland

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Peppercanister Gallery 3 Herbert Street, Dublin 2, Ireland T: E:

+353 (0) 1 6611279. info@peppercanister.com

W:

www.peppercanister.com

Robert Ryan | The Passage Of Time | November 2012 | Peppercanister Gallery Dublin  

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