Gigantic collection at Cultural Arts Center playfully surreal

Posted Sep 15, 2014Tagged , ,



By Elizabeth Trapp
From the Sunday September 14, 2014 edition

“Converging Boundaries,” an exhibition by Christine Guillot Ryan at the Cultural Arts Center, is massive.

Showcasing 150 recent works by the multimedia artist, the gallery has been transformed into a surreal world of canvases filled with floating silhouetted figures, warped text and endless DNA-like strands.

Ryan’s work is married to abstraction. Her painted surfaces operate on both a macro and a micro level — on the one hand appearing as chaotic, allover abstract compositions; and, on the other hand, revealing seemingly endless layers of images connoting specific objects.

Although most of the 150 pieces closely align themselves with the discipline of painting, they don’t seem too far removed from the darkroom, resting somewhere on the sliding scale between photography and painting.

Witnessing Couple, in which two silhouetted figures dominate the canvas, is densely layered with references to painting and photography. Often, the artist alters found images, text or diagrams on a photocopier, so the text seems to melt.The altered images are then applied to the canvas in a photo-transfer method. Relief prints of a footprint or body print are stamped on the surface of some of the canvases in viscous paint.

On other canvases, altered self-portrait photographs seem to float in space.There is a sense of curiosity and playfulness in Ryan’s work. Connecting Jane uses childhood images of Jane (from the school books about Dick and Jane) and S-curve monkeys from a Barrel of Monkeys game. Playing for Keeps juxtaposes photocopied images of human hands and modular figure- drawing forms.

Additional images include photographs, paper-chain-link sculptures and modular paintings. Ryan’s appetite for experimentation, playfulness and images brimming with energy is a cornerstone of the exhibit.

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