Kayne Griffin Corcoran is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Liza Ryan consisting of large-scale color photographs and a multi-image installation.
In this series, Ryan explores the interconnectivity of seemingly disparate elements. The centerpiece of the exhibition is Rare Bloom, a sculptural installation of 180 photographs mounted to panels of varying thickness. Rare Bloom’s non-linear narrative and filmic imagery lead the eye in a variety of directions, expanding the idea that a story can be told and experienced in innumerable ways.
Central to both the stories and composition of Rare Bloom is an image of a woman’s torso in a black jacket, its button straining, on the verge of popping off. Throughout the work, the question arises repeatedly: what will bloom once the barely-contained interior is released? Rare Bloom derives its power from this tension. The imagery suggests a multitude of possibilities that seethe beneath the veneer of ordinary life.
In much of her work, Ryan tests ideas of opposition and duality. Exposing the malleable nature of these perceptions remains the core of her practice and continues in this series with an exploration of our preconceived notions of the mundane and sensational.
By opening the Rare Bloom composition with Bloom #3 – an image of a hand waving a fan – Ryan repurposes the languid gesture into an unexpected catalyst for the flood of activity to follow. In Bloom #1 smoke drifts ominously out of a trashcan against a backdrop of blooming pink azaleas. In I push a petal from my gown, a woman standing calmly before a green landscape exhales a plume of fire, indifferent to the camera’s gaze. When viewing these works, one gets the sense of witnessing the interminable moment just before disaster strikes, that Pandora’s box is about to be opened.
Ryan draws inspiration from a variety of sources including music, literature, and film. In describing her interest in the friction that results when juxtaposing certain images, she cites a quote from Robert Olen Butler, “When you’re listening to a song, a certain kind of expectation develops harmonically...and when that expectation is set up, the moment that gives you chill bumps is when the music cuts against the grain. Musicians call it the rub. Two things rub against each other, and that’s what gives it life, the unexpected thing that nevertheless feels just right.”
Liza Ryan’s work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. She was one of three American artists selected to exhibit at the Biennale of Sydney (2006). She has been included in museum exhibitions at The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and Miami Art Museum. A recent solo exhibition at Hollins University will be supported with a catalog. She has also been the subject of solo exhibitions at Reed College and The Herter Gallery at the University of Massachusetts. In 2009, The J. Paul Getty Museum acquired a thirty-foot long multi-paneled photographic work by Ryan through a gift from Manfred and Hanna Heiting. Her work is also held in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Maison Européen de la Photographie, Paris, among others. Ryan lives and works in Los Angeles.