The Appearance of Context
54 in x 60 in
oil on canvas
Bryan Ryley - Artist's Statement
These new works reflect an ongoing interest of mine in combining the power of abstraction with the recognition factor of representational imagery.
I have always felt that abstraction exists in the realm of the metaphysical, that is beyond the physical, an ontological language that concerns itself with issues of vulnerability, of redemption, questions central to the perception of time and existence, questions often found in the deepest layers of awareness.
Abstraction makes visible (Klee) not the fruit of experience but experience itself and through its open and suggestive form often points to the realm of the spiritual bound up in the physical.
While recognizing abstraction's power to reveal deep emotional information I have also cherished its ability to suggest open interpretations to issues that it circumnavigates. This property has always been crucial for me, its elasticity central to my desire to extend the breadth and depth of readings around any single source of information.
Concurrent with this I have held a fascination for the ability of the representational image to locate specific place and time for the viewer, for its ability to render narrative and to provoke personal memory. In this there is the illusion of comfort, of knowing, of finding one's grounding so to speak, of having a point of view.
While floating in the middle of the lake this past summer I found myself lost in the shapes and forms of the clouds above and began to reflect on the symbolic nature peoples from all over the world place on the image of sky; a repository of spirit, 'heaven', an eternal space, infinite and all encompassing, atmospheric, always changeable, malleable, life sustaining, life renewing, etc. I also reflected on the fact that out of these heavens came a voice on 9/11 that was full of conflict and shattered our feelings of stability and harmony the world over.
This led to the painting entitled "The Appearance of Context", soon followed by "Carpet", and others that are all marked by the overlay of an abstract 'spirit' structure on top of or imbedded in the representational image of sky, each painting an attempt to provoke awarenesss of seperate but unmistakeably joined realities. I hope that this construct will assist the viewer to experience a growth in awareness that is felt when one views the world through the flux of joined realities rather than from any singular point of view.
It is my belief that this is a perceptual necessity for all citizens of the world as we go forward.