HALSEY MCKAY GALLERY is pleased to present an exhibiton of new works by Chicago-based artist Ryan Travis Christian. Often compared to the Imagists, his hometown predecessors, Christian has become know for his mastery of psychological whimsy and madness rendered in graphite, like the work of British artist, Paul Noble. Occupying the second floor exhibiton space Christian also presents his exploration into sculpture and painting. The artist describes Something, Something, Black Something as being “about pulling it off or not. Like trying something new and failing or succeeding, or trying something old and failing or succeeding. It’s about losing functionality or becoming functional in a completely different fashion. It about garbage and glitz having equal rank. It’s like finding money on the ground or having a stranger slap the back of your neck as hard as possible while you are on a nature hike. It’s similar to an uphill tumbleweed. It’s like realizing a fourth of an idea, or almost remembering something you want to say. It’s like having a clear mind and vibrator eyes.”
In the center of the gallery is a sculptural totem of flat basketballs. Flanking the sculpture are highly detailed graphite works and painting, both abstract and representational. The Perceived Failure Drawings are “reworked” versions of what the artist has executed and disliked. Christian salvages the material by drawing, painting and cutting it to create something he approves of. The more representational images are optical tours-de force that he calls “grandiose displays.” A sky-written snake, a juggling & mathematics presentation, a dead king who “had once been respected by most”, all hold court. The pictures are anchored to the sculpture by a floor installation made up of taped connective patterning which visually animates the entire room.
Christian has had solo and two-person exhibitions at Guerrero Gallery, San Francisco, Cooper Cole Gallery, Toronto, Western Exhibitions and Ebersmoore in Chicago, and has been included in group shows at MAMA in Rotterdam, Baer Ridgway in San Francisco, Space 1026 in Philadelphia and Synchronicty in Los Angeles. The artist has curated exhibitions at many of these same venues. In 2010 Christian organized a three-part exhibition, “The Power of Selection, Parts 1, 2, and 3” at Western Exhibitions. New City named Christian as one of Chicago’s “Breakout Artists” for 2010 and his work has been written about in Frieze, Daily Serving, Beautiful/Decay and The Chicago Reader. He lives and works in the Chicagoland area.