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Jonathan Ryan at the Landing


Johnathan Ryan’s new exhibition at the Landing, “Earthbound,” is aptly named. The artist mixes sands and gravel with paint to create unique textural surfaces. In previous shows, Ryan’s work took on an architectural aura, like stepped pyramidal formations viewed from an aerial perspective. But the forms here feel much more rooted in the body.  than geometric and linear edges, Ryan has embraced the curve, and his paintings each contain squiggling organic forms that undulate across the canvas. A prime motif across the paintings is the shadow. Ryan’s forms are striated with darker tones applied strategically to suggest dimensionality and heft.

Color, too, feels intentional and experimental in this new series. Some, like “Red Curtain,” revel in bold monochromatic hues, while others, like “Wave Curtain,” mix surprising hues (here a deep topaz and a spritely orange) as if trying on new, trendy colorways. The bold forms and exuberant color throughout land these works firmly within abstraction, while their textured surfaces grant them a sculptural objecthood that doesn’t plant them firmly within any one genre.

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Photo: Jonathan Ryan, “Unfurled (Diptych),” 2021. Oil and sand on canvas, 82 x 62 inches. Photo: Charles White / JWPictures.