The Drawers - Bryan Ryley   Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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To leave the mark of individuality, a sense of the intellect and spirit, is to wax poetic. Abstraction reveals what it left behind, a track of energy. Abstraction indicates the state of mind that the artist inhabited while he assumed the creative responsibility. Bryan Ryley leaves indicators and passes over the flame of insight to the viewer with a practiced hand.

Ryley has never tied down the field of possibilities with inconsequential dribble. Throughout series past, he has held a strict abstract agenda, giving us paint, pencil, paper, canvas a “medium is the message” type of artist. He would allow himself the indiscretion of a collaged element now and again as in one series when he included the paint labels from the cans in the artworks. There have also been repetitive shapes and formats to orient from; The Four Seasons, for instance, where broad color fields with circles of relative size presented an associative palette in large formats, like modern picture windows letting through a vision of nature.

Starting with a digital printed image from a photograph of saddhus, Bryan Ryley works through a number of 'medium moves' that vacillate between obfuscation and clarification. He lays a milky substance over the surface that places a blur on the image of the holy men so that it becomes difficult to focus on their physical existence and replaces that frozen moment with a melt down.

He exerts his written hand and brings civilized thoughts from seemingly disconnected sources but once the connections are made, the information is vast. T.S. Elliot, e.e.cummings, and Ferlingetti were all poets. Ferlingetti (from Yonkers and Bryan Ryley did his Masters at Pratt) began the Beat Movement and eventually opened the City Lights Book Store in San Francisco. The often playful, usually more dissident, verse of e.e. cummings (who was also, although not acclaimed as such, a painter) with his lack of punctuation and capitals developed the model of abstract poetry. T.S. Elliot's existential philosophy was the engine that drove abstract expressionism. Ryley gives us a plus and a minus sign, loaded with pushes and pulls, and visually, immediately recognizable.

Brian's work gives us an overview of the intangible. He encourages reflection.

Copyright © 2006,  Headbones Gallery, The Drawers