in the spirit of George Condo, Ub Iwerks, The Hairy Who, construction-site
warning signage, and a vast assortment of other visual elements,
Ryan Travis Christian's new series of graphic graphite drawings,
"The River Rats", are inspired by outwardly surreal
personal narratives. The drawings are fueled by the absurdity
of life in his small hometown and take the "River Rats"
as endlessly fascinating subjects for both studies and stories.
Recently waxing nostalgic for these ridiculous characters and
instances, the pieces have been created in the last 5 months
with recurring themes of, but not limited to; fires, wheelchairs,
heavy petting, fireworks, drug and alcohol usage, rivers, boats,
beat up cars, death, homes, speed bumps, and cats.
Over the past three years Christian has developed an idiosyncratic
style of drawing: densely layered intensities of graphite pencil,
graphic yet amorphous stylistic flourishes, in high contrast
and slow motion, and executed in a cartoon y/ comic-esque style,
but in an understated sort of way. Working in a stream- of-conscious
fashion, Christian inserts his signature characters into hazy
sfumato-esque landscapes and skewed spaces alike that repeatedly
melt and coalesce.
is Ryan Travis Christian’s first solo
show at Western Exhibitions. Christian has had solo shows at
Guerrero Gallery in San Francisco Ebersmoore in Chicago, and
has been included in group show at Show and Tell in Toronto,
Eric Firestone Gallery in East Hampton, MAMA in Rotterdam, Baer
Ridgway in San Francisco, Space 1026 in Philadelphia and Synchronicty
in Los Angeles and has curated exhibitions at many of these
same venues. In 2010 Christian organized a three-part exhibition,
“The Power of Selection, Parts 1, 2, and 3” at Western
Exhibitions, the goal of which was to increase the circulation
of contemporary artwork seen in Chicago by showing works by
out of town and/or up-and-coming artists. New City named
Christian as one of Chicago’s “Breakout Artists”
for 2010 and his work has been written about in Daily Serving,
Beautiful/Decay and The Chicago Reader. He
lives and works in the Chicagoland area.