Josh Lilley is delighted to present the debut solo exhibition of Los Angeles-based sculptor Kathleen Ryan.
In concrete, steel, pewter and second-hand detritus, Kathleen Ryan renders grapes and ivy, shells and pearls, or rays of light. Filtering nature through the instruments of culture and industry, the artist embraces duality wherever it can be found.
Ryan’s Bacchante works are dramatically oversized bunches of grapes made of concrete-cast balloons connected by metal chains. These solid balls are draped and settled by gravity as exhausted recumbent figures, evoking the female through the luscious and fertile form of the fruit. The Bacchante works are both playful pop forms and cautionary tales—pure sex, fit to burst, as well as literal balls-and-chains, bleak and heavy.
Light Rail and Lipstick Rail, once custom-fabricated stair rails, are divorced from their reason to exist. Vibrantly colored and flipped on their ends, the rail works remain tight in form and position while their function, meaning and associations open up and expand organically. Light Rail becomes a three-dimensional hieroglyph of a fleeting phenomenon such as lightning or the sun’s rays, emphasizing the space surrounding it as much as it traces the curve of a line.
‘Caprice’ is the brand name of the creamy, iridescent bowling ball that forms the pearl of Caprice, an oyster made of concrete bowls and a hardware-store chrome hinge. Caprice is “a sudden, unpredictable change, as of one's mind or the weather,” or a woman's name, a temptress's name. Perhaps this sculpture is a woman. Perhaps Venus is the bowling ball pearl named Caprice.
Perhaps the pearl is the key to the exhibition: treasure made of trash; a collection of simple, common shapes and materials; a rough, dry exterior and fleshy, pink interior; thrift-store Americana and concrete, bound together as one.
Opening Thursday 26 May 6-9pm