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Kathleen Ryan


Kathleen Ryan — Born 1984, Santa Monica, California. Lives and works in New York. Represented by Josh Lilley, London; Karma, New York; and Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles. 


Insistent on their physicality, Ryan’s sculptures recast found and handmade objects as spectacular, larger-than-life hieroglyphs of Americana. Her mediums, which range from pink bowling balls, an Airstream trailer, fishing poles, and even granite mounts for industrial machinery, are both familiar and iconographic, and seemingly lost in time. Seeking and collecting objects is fundamental to how her artwork comes to be. One such object she has collected for years is beaded fruit, specifically pin-beaded styrofoam-core fruits, a craft hobby popular in America from the 1940s through 1970s, which Ryan has amassed through thrift store and Internet quests. 


These materials are often at odds with the subjects they represent: delicate, sensual grapes are rendered with heavy, utilitarian concrete and/or or mold colonies. Ryan portrays the moldy substances through precious and semi-precious gemstones like amethyst, quartz, and marble. The materials’ durability and longevity directly contrast the decay they represent. As in Dutch vanitas paintings, the relics of the everyday — seed pods, jewelry, domestic fixtures, moldy fruit — become tongue-in-cheek allegories for sexuality, decadence, and the cycle of life.


After studying archaeology and art as an undergraduate at Pitzer College, Ryan pursued a Master of Fine Arts at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she studied under artists Charles Ray and Catherine Opie. Ryan has held institutional solo exhibitions at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna; the New Art Gallery, Walsall, UK; the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, USA; and the Cc Foundation & Art Centre, Shanghai. She has had further solo exhibitions with, among others: Josh Lilley, London; Francois Ghebaly, Los Angeles; and Karma, New York.


Bad Girls 2021 - Featured Work

Ryan, Bad Lemon (Soft and Hard), 2020 (KR 20.013) F.jpg

Kathleen RYAN

Bad Lemon (Soft and Hard), 2020

aventurine, labradorite, prehnite, pyrite, carnelian, citrine, serpentine, agate, quartz, amethyst, jasper, garnet, black onyx, quartz, smokey quartz, shell, glass, steel pins on coated polystyrene

47 x 71 x 48.5 cm - 18.5 x 28 x 19 inches


Not for sale.

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