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!
What is it about? Hard to say actually and this is intentional, I believe.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Import Data is another a case in point, mixing both Dark Energy and layers of data.
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.
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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Whaou !! it’s an explosion of colors, shapes!
So many overlays !( superposition)
Some works seem “encombrées” so many graphics that mix !
I stayed a long time in front of “Import Data”, my eyes are used and discovered the “empilements” successive !!! and at times so many colors, round shapes, it’s hypnotizing in fact !!!
I love this one too…No end of finding more and more as you unpeel the layers 😍
Oh spectacular effusion of colors and like mind of mandalas in H Dark Energy (Pearl White)..Thank you for sharing this exhibition.
Very interesting and colorful work. I love the concept of art so dense it takes us away from our screens. Also so contemporary but imagery like the mandalas so ancient. Great write up!
Thank you for reading, Emily! It means the world… and agreed, when we dive into Ryan McGinness’ complex works, it’s hard to be distracted by anything else🙏🏼 You are spot on regarding the tension between uber contemporary – almost street art style- and ancient techniques. I really like that both have this repetitive quality which absorbs the mind and brings a meditative potential.