Blurring the lines between the figurative, the anthropomorphic and even the abstract, Ryan Mosley (°1980 Chesterfield, lives and works in Sheffield) has created a parallel universe making everyday life fantastical. For this exhibition Ryan Mosley presents a new series of paintings, inspired by the looming presence of the moon. His characters of actors and actresses, flaneurs, dandies, drag acts and dog walkers, inhabit a modernist world where they stage a conversation formed from every conceivable tentative, corner of fact and fiction. Each character shares the same ambiguity and tragedy as the moon they are under. This ambiguity runs through all aspects of Mosley’s paintings, from his choice of colours, motifs and patterns to the changing meaning of his characters and narratives.
Resembling our human need of stories, Mosley references to stories which in large are based on fiction: Greek myth, fables, ancient narratives and folklore. Through his spontaneous approach of painting, the characters and narratives appear organically, starting with a cross fertilising of ideas. By adding and taking away paint it propels the characters and narratives towards new destinations far removed from the initial idea.
“Under Moon started with a male protagonist being center stage on a regional theatre, reciting his lines of a play. Because I felt the stage wasn’t quite working, I decided to erase the floorboards and repaint them. I ended up with the nucleus of what to me looked like the concave hull of a canoe. This immediately started to read as the ferry man in the midst of his chores, Charon earning his obol whilst ferrying the recently departed across the river Styx.” explains Mosley. “After the painting existed long enough in the studio, I became fond of the character and found myself refamiliarising with Greek Myth. When I read more about the character of Charon, I discovered the ferryman shared his name with the moon of Pluto. This to me was a sign that the moon as a motif and its presence in everyday life reinforced the direction of this series of works.”
With his unusual motifs Mosley emphasises the absurdity of everyday life. Presenting an almost grotesque form of realism, Mosley deconstructs the shapes and forms of his subjects, merging them with their background and suggesting their volume through the juxtaposition of pure, unsaturated colours. With a background that seems to reference a painting by Mondriaan, The Garden depicts two characters who are separated by a brick wall. The shape of the male character seems to merge with the pattern of the wall. The same wall motif reappears in works like An unexpected quarter, Natures nurture and Turns to stone as a visual anchor relating to the humdrum of everyday construction and division of boundaries.
Ryan Mosley’s works were internationally exhibited in exhibitions including Aston Hall Museum, Birmingham; Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel; Saatchi Gallery at The Hermitage, Saint Petersburg; Museum Sheffield, Sheffield; Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, Remagen; Museum of Modern Art, Baku; Modem Museum, Hungary. His works are part of public collections such as Milwaukee Art Museum, Arts Council Collection, Falckenberg Collection, Saatchi Collection and Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design.
25 October - 1 December 2018
Tim Van Laere Gallery