With an art career spanning more than 30 years, exhibiting both nationally and internationally, artist Kathryn Ryan has returned to her home town to host her first Warrnambool solo exhibition at The F Project Gallery this month.
After several decades based in Melbourne and a number of years living in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, she now lives and works in Warrnambool.
Rapture showcases a new series of large scale and medium charcoal drawings, created during the past year of lockdowns.
The drawings depict intimate details from nature, vine wrapped tree trunks, bark covered gums and seaweed; micro views, up close and personal.
"Looking within, a time of introspection, no doubt contributed to these intimate and detailed views of the natural world," Ryan said.
"They were gradually built up in layers, much the same way as I approach my painting process. Drawing with sticks of willow charcoal, each and every mark is intimate and direct, fully aware of being made by hand.
"Tonal gradations, depth, light, dark, composition, contrast, subtleties are all woven together in their own complex web to build the drawings."
In Rapture, the intricate and detailed beauty from the natural world are explored in depth with layered, tonal and observational charcoal works.
The drawings allude to the extraordinary beauty in nature, the intimate details invite us to look within and at our surroundings.
Ryan's artwork focuses on the juxtaposition of strength and fragility, the intimate and the distant, the fleeting and the solid, played out through her treatment of shadow and light, which is simultaneously bold and subtle, precise and ambiguous.
"My love of working with charcoal and the drawing process intensified with the creation of these works, often very long hours over many weeks, totally absorbed in the visual language," she said.
"Focusing on texture, tone, variation in mark making: delicate and tentative marks contrasted with forceful and dynamic mark making.
"Variations in charcoal from willow to compressed, velvety jet blacks to sensitive and subtle creation of light with willow and erasers, all interwoven in the drawing process.
"This visual language, replicating the qualities found in the natural world - the twisted vines, floating bougainvillea and cast shadows, tree trunks, delicate and sinuous seaweed, all combining and interacting to find their own balance and harmony in nature.
"The works delve into those states of the 'in between', exploring co-existing opposites, revealing what is tangible and intangible by sensitively navigating what to reveal and conceal."
Ryan has consistently held sell-out exhibitions for over 25 years with leading galleries in Melbourne and Sydney.
Her work has been acquired for significant public collections including Parliament House, Canberra, RACV Collection, Warrnambool Art Gallery, The Macquarie Group Collection, Artbank, Deakin University and private collections in both Australia and internationally.
Ryan has been a finalist multiple times in major Australian art prizes including: The Wynne Prize at AGNSW, Salon des Refuses, Wynne - SH Ervin Gallery, Sydney, Geelong Contemporary Art Prize - Geelong Gallery, The Paul Guest Prize - Bendigo Art Gallery and The John Leslie Art Prize for Landscape - Gippsland Art Gallery.
In 2015, The Warrnambool Art Gallery held a major 20 year survey show of her art practice. The exhibition, A Quiet Place, featured Paintings and Drawings from 1995- 2015 loaned from private and public collections.
Rapture will be on view until February 6 and is also viewable online with a VR Gallery, all artwork images and videos on both The F Project and Kathryn Ryan Artist websites.
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