Dispatch Review by Melissa StarkerPosted Feb 3, 2013Tagged Articles & Press Releases, Exhibitions, Recent News
By Melissa Starker
The Columbus Dispatch Sunday February 3, 2013 5:39 AM
While she worked full time as a graphic designer, Christine Guillot Ryan was interested in creating fine art but had little time to pursue it.
Then, in early 2009, she lost her job, joining the ranks of the downsized.She looks back at the experience and considers it a gift in disguise.
“I finally gave myself permission to go down a few levels,” Ryan said, “and go for something that I think I’d been keeping at a distance, that’s a little more conceptual.”
She began working on a series of mixed-media collages inspired in part by her experience, one with which many people are all too familiar.They fill the gallery at the McConnell Arts Center of Worthington for the solo exhibition “Fairytales and Finance: Beyond Figures and Fragments.”
“The similarities between finance and fairy tales as systems of belief had been interesting to me for years,” Ryan said. “The recent economic crisis made it even more timely, as people saw what they had believed would keep them safe — their 401(k)s and home equity — as unpredictable and uncontrollable. For me and many others who had pushed down their dreams of more fulfilling work for job security, we saw the security end with a final conversation with HR.”
Using scans of international currency and thrift-store purchases, along with images from old books, food wrappers, Google Maps and online advertising, the artist layers thin slices and torn scraps of found imagery onto applications of rich, alluring color. One is first struck by their precision and intensity of information as well as a decorative beauty that is both unique and traditional.
With further investigation come a sense of wariness toward the commercial motives behind the materials and a desire to re-contextualize them.
Fairy-tale scenes and vintage illustrations of unrealistically slender women form part of the landscape above which origami butterflies soar in Leaving the Nest. Chasing Freedom incorporates pictures of models in a credit-card ad campaign jumping for joy over newfound spending power; they’re leaping over paper money from various countries.
At the same time, Ryan’s collages seek to capture the ways in which human consciousness is formed — by the fragments of thoughts, memories and sensations amassed over a lifetime. Each also allows for an element of control in the visual presentation by individuals who take possession of the artist’s work.
She forms each collage from modular pieces that offer multiple configuration options. The opportunity is even alluded to in titles such as 4 Ways 2 Go and Next Move, a grouping of canvases full of dance-move diagrams and extremities caught in motion.
Visitors are given a chance to experiment with the option that her work affords through an interactive station, for which Ryan’s pieces have been re-created in miniature magnetic form.
- In the Studio
Posted NOV 12, 2017
I’m working on a video documentation of the “you|me: WE” video installation: combining a circular ambient light projection screen with a floor-standing monitor.