Ryan Mrozowski is a painter who creates intriguing scenes in which large crowds are seen set against deep colored fields clustering around cryptic events where the roles of observer and active participant are blurred and ambiguous and meanings more so. Mrozowski finds in the crowd an apt metaphor for the idle curiosity and thirst for wonder that is such a part of human experience and his images tap into the latent energies and the random magic that large groups of people can summon and precipitate. At the center of his acutely observed and carefully constructed paintings is an interest in the spectacles that capture imagination, in the processions, pageants, and enactments that call out our theatricality and speak to our need for shared experience. Mrozowski’s scenes are mysterious, stretching the boundaries of any known ritual and, as such, wide open to interpretation, but they are distinctly recognizable for their archetypal relationships of viewer to viewed and participant to event. Painted in richly glazed colors with jewelike precision, the small schematic figures appear from a distance to be abstract patterns or maps but upon closer inspection, his imaginatively choreographed gatherings invite the viewer to join the milling crowds and engage in another, very familiar human activity, that of wondering just what the heck is going on. This challenge is one of the strengths of Mrozowski’s paintings and the perceptive viewer will find within his work fascinating layers of reference and subtle and oblique social commentary.
Ryan Mrozowski received an MFA in painting from the Pratt institute in Brooklyn in 2005. This is his first solo exhibition in NYC.