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Ryan Wallace: Glean

Morgan Lehman Gallery
535 West 22nd Street, 6th floor, 212-268-6699
February 11 - March 20, 2010
Reception: Thursday, February 11, 6 - 8 PM
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Morgan Lehman is pleased to present Glean, a solo exhibition of new works by Ryan Wallace. In his first exhibition with the gallery, Wallace continues his exploration of current trends and advancements in science, technology and consciousness. His research draws from books, websites, trade and mass media publications, industry reports, television and seminars. He uses this data and theories as starting points for his paintings and drawings, which act as visual solutions to his curiosity and meditations on these themes.

Much of the data mined for paintings like “Quest (Higgs Boson) 1” was culled from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) website, specifically charts and reports related to the Large Hadron Collider. This multi-billion dollar experiment has drawn much public attention and speculation. It has been called the greatest scientific gamble of all time as it searches to find the “God Particle”, reveal the scaffolding of the cosmos, explain the Big Bang, and threatens to engulf the universe. Frequent breakdowns of the machine have lead to recent theories that something from the future has gone back in time to sabotage it and other projects. Wallace finds a strong parallel to the hyperbole, fear, excitement and wonder surrounding the sciences and what it means to be a conscious person amongst broader personal concerns and desires in modern times.

Throughout his process, Wallace manipulates the inherent properties of paints, papers, plastics and tapes to affect the varied surface of his works. A precarious nature of final outcomes is embraced and exploited. While obsessively arranged, each work is an articulation of arbitrary marks and mildly controlled accidents. Material is gathered laboriously, bit-by-bit, found in intentional creations as well as haphazard residue and remnants from the studio. These bits are accumulated, mulled over, reworked and composed into entireties as a universal shape manifests, repeatedly revealing itself throughout the exhibition. Layers of Mylar are glued over entire surfaces. Mild relief beneath yields an atmosphere of subtle trapped air pockets creating a hazy visage. In other works the plane finds itself slashed and oozing. Opalescent powder is thrown at thickly applied polyvinyl acetate and jade adhesive, clumped and matte in areas simultaneously sparkling wildly in the light and shadow of others.

While Wallace’s practice is informed by humanist concerns and culled scientific data, it finds formal connections to the slash paintings of Lucio Fontana as well as the spiritual and meditative quality of Mark Rothko’s abstractions. Much like the tone of Rothko’s rooms Wallace’s compositions fluctuate between angst and serenity as they allow us to ponder their inquisitive nature rather than receive any specific direction or set statement.

Ryan Wallace was born in New York City (1977) where he continues to live and work. He is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (BFA 1999). Recently his paintings, drawings and multi-media works have been exhibited at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Baer Ridgway, San Francisco, Scion Installation L.A., the Katzen Arts Center at American University, Washington D.C., as well as The Wild Project, and V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark.
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