Sunday, 18 December 2011

Modern Nativity by Rachel Ryan

This glue-gun fiesta is Modern Nativity by Rachel Ryan, which I purchased from her recent solo show, Waking Dreams, at the Craft Council Gallery in St. John's.  It was listed NFS but I was smitten and when I had the opportunity to interview Rachel I asked if she was interested in selling it to me.   It is a fine example of messy craft, an exuberance of glitz and glam.  To me it was funny, irreverent and just what I needed going into the holiday season.  Remember what I said, "life is messy so why can't craft be?"  Rachel Ryan has been known for superb design sense and finely controlled technique.  I was really intrigued when I saw her take on kitsch.  Ryan's life over the past few years has been a rollercoaster ride of events and emotions:  her mother finally passing away after a battle with cancer, the end of her marriage after several years, etc.  She was giving herself permission to color outside of the lines.  This is what I wrote in my notebook at the show, "Rachel Ryan has exploded out of her cocoon.  Ryan has created a body of drawings and wall hangings and mixed media installations that bristle with bold energy and powerful emotions.  Gone are the contemplative landscapes, the icebergs that on closer inspections contained women or the birch tress that housed stately spirits.  They have been replaced with equally soulful work but this latest show is extroverted rather than inward looking.  Waking Dreams is a centrifugal storm, an outpouring of complex colors, spiraling stitches and layers upon layers of quilted swatches of fabric and paper." Ryan's work was about - as one piece was titled- The Wreckage of Change.  Not just her personal life but also the social backdrop of tsunamis, financial crisis and war, which had extra meaning for Rachel as she had been part of a military family, a boat in tow through a succession of postings.  So, when the only thing in life that is permanent is your marker maybe what you need is a little kitsch.  The occasion for the interview was preparation for a tour I gave in mid October to a cruise group traveling with Adventure Tours.  Novelist Kevin Major was their group organizer.  

No comments:

Post a Comment