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Ryan Foster
Morbid Sunset
Ryan Foster
Morbid Sunset
oil on canvas
36” x 48”
2014

www.richardhellergallery.com
Exhibition Statement
When beginning this body of work I was interested in longevity. By that I mean subject matter that I could develop and evolve over time without painting myself into a corner. Using fabrics and patterned quilts as a curtain creates a stage-like setting similar to a photo shoot and is an attempt to unify the work. This foundational platform acts as a stage and a unifying agent for a variety of narratives to evolve and unfold within a similar imaginary world. It is a basic and open-ended arena that allows for maximum freedom for plot changes and future ideas to grow and develop seamlessly with one another.
In developing the narratives, the paintings become landscape/ still life hybrids. Trees, animals, and cars are picked and arranged as if they were flowers, fruits, and vases typically seen in a more classical still life painting. This helps to anchor smaller subjects to a larger meta narrative that is slowly unfolding. It is this collective meaning that becomes most interesting as one painting is compared with the next. Like an old photograph, the natural transition from old to new makes both more interesting.
Along with acting as a curtain, the drapery also becomes the sky standing in for sunsets, clouds and seasonal changes. This veiling of the landscape severs the elements from their usual surroundings and creates a sense of increased anticipation. Because so much is hidden from view what is included is viewed with a feeling of added significance or even a looming anxiety that something is about to happen. My true subject matter, however, becomes what is not shown. By clothing the sky, the majority of the space is hidden from view provoking a comparison between what is seen and what is unseen. This is meant to give a spiritual and mysterious quality to the landscape and elicits the question - what is behind the curtain?