Marcel's Beach, Bryan Ryley, June, 2010, Exhibition statement


MARCEL‘S BEACH refers to the ‘ beach head’, that place where crucial decisions are made, where the land meets the sea, where the calm meets the storm.  MARCEL’S DILEMMA refers to the choices we are confronted with, to go one way or another, to choose to face the music or to fade from view.  MARCEL refers to the great French/American artist Marcel Duchamp who championed the notion that art mirrors life, that art, and indeed life, is a game full of moves, decisions made, roads taken, consequences felt.  The underlying structure of this painting references the grid, the form of the chessboard that Duchamp viewed as the ultimate metaphoric structure of life, and the final platform of his art. I view MARCEL as an ‘every person’, synonymous  to and representative of each of us.


                                                                                                            Bryan Ryley

                                                                                                            June, 2010

The Point Is: Pierre Coupey, Landon MacKenzie, Martin Pearce, Bernadette Phan, Bryan Ryley, Liz Wylie, Kelowna Art Gallery, Kelowna BC, August 20. 2011, Artist Statement for catalogue

Abstraction asks of us to gather our knowledge from a different place than through our usual rational reductive processes, and requests that we feel our way into the territory that confronts us, whether this be visual or auditory. It is not a mistake to think that abstraction ‘represents’ things, as indeed it does, however what it represents can only be accessed through one’s emotive intelligence or ‘felt’ knowledge. Often this is referred to as the ‘intuitive’ self, that place where instinct informs us of direction and gives location to our reasoning. Few of us are accustomed to this way of experiencing phenomena, and we grope for anchors in concrete thought, for associations that ‘mean’ something, things that will help us to arrive at a conclusion, putting an end to the experience and giving a sense of achieved understanding. 

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Constructions of Identity, Liz Wylie, Kelowna Art Gallery / Journal, September 1, 2010

Our main fall exhibition features work of contemporary art that have been added to the Gallery's permanent collection in the last two years, thanks to the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance Program.

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Bryan Ryley echoes Picasso with his Sum of Destructions, Liz Wylie, Capital News, December 30, 2009

Art lovers have only ten more days to visit the solo exhibition of works by Okanagan Valley-based artist Bryan Ryley on at the Kelowna Art Gallery. The show revolves around the notions of war and genocide, and the artist’s role in speaking out against atrocities. 

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Colour and Movement Standing Still, Kristin Froneman, Morning Star, December 12, 2009

Anyone who has ever taken a subway train in, say, Toronto or New York will know the feeling –– the blurred snapshots of life as the train pulls from station to station. It’s the same feeling you get when looking at the one of the large canvasses created by Vernon artist Bryan Ryley.  

It’s as if the world is going by, while the person looking on is standing still.

And it’s exactly the effect the Commonage-based artist wanted when he was awarded a major commission to create two paintings for a new building in Calgary’s downtown core. You can now glimpse the work, titled C Train and Sun Meets Moon, as you go past the Bankers Court.

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Bryan Ryley: Sum of Destructions, Liz Wylie, Kelowna Art Gallery , November 7, 2009 , essay for the exhibition

Okanagan Valley-based artist Bryan Ryley has produced paintings, works on paper, and even at times sculpture, over a three-decade career now. Trained and formed in New York of the 70s, Ryley started out steeped in high modernism, which still forms much of the conceptual basis of his work, but his practice is by no means limited by that. 

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Free Radicals , Esther Krasnow, Paul Kuhn Gallery, January 10, 2009

Opening Saturday, January 10, 2009, The Paul Kuhn Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by senior Canadian artist, Bryan Ryley.  The exhibition entitled "Free Radicals" includes paintings and works on paper.

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Boundaries, Bryan Ryley, catalogue statement, Kelowna Art Gallery , September 8, 2008

Boundaries, which I prefer to call edges, constitute the area of energy where change occurs. Along the peripheral edge stasis gives way to change and new conceptual frameworks come into play.  

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Bryan Ryley: Vernon Public Art Gallery, Liz Wylie, Canadian Art Magazine, December 2007

Will we ever tire of looking at painting? Get bored of marvelling at the alchemical transformation that the coloured mud undergoes in order to speak to us of emotion and thought and take us out of ourselves, to a place of the painter’s own invention? Bryan Ryley is a senior artist from the Okanagan Valley region, having lived and taught and worked here since 1978. The four huge diptychs that comprise this solo exhibition pack a whallop of an aesthetic and emotional punch. As is his intention, our first thought upon looking at the works is to wonder how they have been made. His is actually a fairly complicated and involved process that invokes chance, and uses seven-foot-long squeegees to draw globs of paint laterally across the canvas surfaces. The edges of the initial blobs create an enlivened coloured bric-a-brac along the outer edges of each painting. 

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SALTUS, Lubos Culen, Vernon Public Art Gallery, September 6, 2007, 978-0-9783080-1-8

Conversation between Bryan Ryley and Lubos Culen in the artist’s studio on July 2, 2007.  

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Abstract (B&W), Julie Oaks, Rich Fog Micro Publishing, Toronto, Ontario, September 8, 2007

Bryan Ryley’s small charcoal sketches with some collage are visual think tanks, clear and open for observation.  The marks, as if moving in a liquid space that is receptive to the meanderings of the creative impulses, reveal a domain where nascent thoughts begin to grow and acquire form.  The gestation period where growth can take a variety of paths before settling into a more absolute form has been made into an intriguing visual.

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The Drawers Selection: A Child of God, Julie Oaks, Rich Fog Micro Publishing, Toronto, Ontario, February 4, 2006

To leave the mark of individuality, a sense of the intellect and spirit, is to wax poetic.  Abstraction reveals what it left behind, a track of energy.  Abstraction indicates the state of mind that the artist inhabited while he assumed the creative responsibility.  Bryan Ryley leaves indicators and passes over the flame of insight to the viewer with a practiced hand.

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The Crosses of Bryan Ryley: a Reflection on Anti-Memory, Dr. Mercedes F. Duran, Department of Critical Studies, University of British Columbia Okanagan, October 28, 2005

The paintings of Bryan Ryley invite us to a cultural feast in which a multitude of signs converge and give meaning to the tense architecture of grids that simultaneously contain and unleash them. The cross, main theme of this series, becomes a palimpsest in which the surface text can only attain its actual, complete, meaning through first deciphering the hidden layers: there always seems to be a concealed presence underneath it.

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Marcel' Beach, A/C, 1999