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Ryan McGinness : Ocular Evidence

I have no choice but to make it short and sweet here : Ryan McGinness is like no other artists I have looked at before. His show Ocular Evidence is a visual bomb!

Ryan McGinness, Ocular Evidence, Quint Gallery, San Diego

What is it about? Hard to say actually and this is intentional, I believe.

Ryan McGinness, detail from Ten Skateboards (White), 2017, Quint Gallery

Ryan McGinness jam-packs symbols and signs within street art fields of bright colors. As such, he recreates the information overload we are all subjected to every day.

Ryan McGinness, detail from Import Data, 2016, Quint Gallery

The magic is that your focus may start to linger on one area, soon enough to become an entry point into Ryan McGinness’ graphic world. Just like that, his kaleidoscope colors make the cacophony of life much more appealing.

As I picked out through his dense typography, some signs emerged. I thought I had recognized some of them.

Ryan McGinness, detail from Don’t Stress The Machine (Blue), 2017, Quint Gallery

A bit of art history nod to Dali with the lobster phone here, a le Corbusier armchair, three silhouettes that look straight out of the opening of a James Bond movie there…Great, this must be how one decodes Ryan McGinness’ language.

Ryan McGinness, detail from Signals Painting 5, 2017, Quint Gallery

For sure, his is a new language so I kept exploring. Look here: this metronome is Man Ray’s Object to Be Destroyed, right? Yet all these signs are always slightly modified, re-invented and created out of Ryan McGinness’ graphic design vocabulary.

Smoothed out and with hardly any artist touch visible, it is easy to wonder if these are graphic designs, printed rather than painted. Yet, they resonate , they signify, they ink themselves on our retina…

Ryan McGinness, Untitled (Black Hole, Pearl White 1), 2008, Quint Gallery

Ryan McGiness’ interlocking mandala wheels are vibrant, almost charming and harmless, until their titles hit you: Dark Energy or Black Holes, a series he started with his An(n)us Mirabilis back in 2006.

Ryan McGinness, Dark Energy (Pearl White), 2017, Quint Gallery

The Saatchi website describes it best as all of them being “virtual field(s) of information”, so tempting and hypnotic until they absorb us all…Sounds familiar? Yet maybe that’s what we all need in our lives: art so absorbing, our screens will pale in comparison.

Ryan McGinness, Import Data, 2016, Quint Gallery

Import Data is another a case in point, mixing both Dark Energy and layers of data.

Ryan McGinness, Don’t Stress The Machine (Blue), 2017, Quint Gallery

The studio paintings are something else, a bit like David Hockney meets Jonas Wood in a dream at the graphic designer’s office. Themes and logos (that aren’t logos) are remixed once more.

Ryan McGinness, Signals Painting 5, 2017, Quint Gallery

Can you hear the wheels turning? So good…

And just when I might think “OK, that’s very good indeed”, Ryan McGinness revisits his “black hole” motifs on cyanotypes, delivering the final punch in an already excellent show. Give me a set of 4, 6 or 8 but I would take that entire wall, if I could!

Thank you Quint Gallery for another fantastic show: I am so grateful to have you around the corner here in San Diego, giving me access to all these fabulous artists.

Ocular Evidence by Ryan McGinness is on at Quint Gallery until Feb 3, 2018.

Or you can catch his show Studio Views at Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, MI until March 18, 2018.

© 2017 Ingrid Westlake

All pictures by Ingrid Westlake, unless otherwise stated.

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