Audrey Ryan’s “To Need Another” exhibition at Con Artist features a series of large-scale paintings surrounded by smaller drawings. As the artist explains, her work for the show is somewhat about dependence, but “mostly about sex.” Standing in a cramped gallery space filled with loud glitchy rap music and paintings of pop cultural references, it was hard for me to conjure up feelings of want. Instead, I found myself gripped to the smallest of Ryan’s drawings: intimate studies of people, places, and meals-for-one taped across the walls.
Entering the Void
Taking large strides through Ludlow Street on Wednesday evening, I almost passed by Con Artist Gallery before realizing that I had arrived. Just before I took too many steps away, I caught the entrance to the small basement gallery sitting below a staircase. Inside the art space, I quickly walked to the painting I saw featured in all the exhibit promo materials: a blonde chick grimacing with her mouth wide open, showing off her mouth full of solid gold grillz. Fittingly, a Kanye West song was blasting on busted speakers, and John Legend started swooning, “Let’s play the blame game, I love you, more.”
On the opposite wall was a portrait of a black man staring straight on. His mouth was full, not of solid gold, but some off-color gummy worms and dripping gold. Underneath the painting was a messy statement handwritten in all caps: “I love it when you eat it.” I walked away to another painting, placed at the centerfold of the exhibition and the largest piece in Ryan’s show: a still-life portrait of a fittingly blurry bottle of cough syrup plainly labeled “purple swag.”
I Ain’t Come Yet
Once I took note of each of the large paintings, I put away my notebook, and prepared to head out. Then I stepped closer to the walls to look at the smaller drawings taped on the walls. Some of the pieces were on paper as small as index cards. There was a sense of intimacy in each of these drawings: the studies of a lover’s face while lying in bed and a quick documentation of that meal-for-one and a single bottle of beer. I began walking through the exhibit again, looking only at these small drawings scattered throughout the walls. I still remember – one was a self-portrait of the artist standing still, staring at herself in the bathroom mirror – the lines coming alive on paper, reaching out with each stroke.
Editor’s Note: If you need some grillz and rap music action to start of 2013 right, be sure to catch the closing party for this exhibition on Wednesday, January 2nd 2013!
- Con Artist Audrey Ryan’s “To Need Another” Exhibition. Exhibition runs until January 2nd 2013 (Closing party: 8pm – late). (Price of Artworks: NYC-Artparasites.com estimates $50 – 200).
Article written by Sewon Christina Chung