Christopher Ryan Paintings

For nearly a decade my primary body of artwork has addressed the convergence of the material culture of the past and the residue of contemporary society. Referencing the narrative designs of ancient and medieval mosaic and inlaid stone floors from Italy, my paintings have juxtaposed this imagery with objects and debris from contemporary life in order to establish new relationships. The “dialogue” created between contrasting elements (old and new, public and private, sacred and profane, etc.), suggests enigmatic events transpired or allegories that address themes that are both autobiographical and universal. In my work, the floor plane itself has served as a metaphor for the surroundings that we navigate daily, but often treat with ambivalence, disregard, or disrespect. A sort of “low-impact visual archaeology,” consisting of observing, sketching, making rubbings, and photographic documentation has been my process of gathering on-site source material for my work.

One recurring theme in my work is the omnipresence of war and conflict. Many pieces explore the dichotomy between the pleasures and preoccupations of everyday life set against the backdrop of troubling world events. Such works are my attempt to grapple with an appreciation of the past while struggling with the gnawing realities of the present day. In the rehabilitation and reanimation of “lost” imagery, I’m able to find context in the past, while reflecting on my own perceptions of the present.