The British are coming! They are coming to a gallery near you. Last June 27th, AF attended the first solo exhibition of British painter, Ryan Mosley, for his show “Thoughts of Man” at Tierney Gardarin. Immediately you get the impact of the large-scale paintings with its brilliantly composed scenery, outlandish characters, and saturated colors. What was the artist thinking?
Fortunately, Ryan Mosley was able to spend a few moments with AF to discuss his work and how it came to be. The decision to create this series in such a large scale was a matter of building up paintings. It begins with one thing and no set idea but grows until all components are placed then he feels it is finished. With such an organic method, Mosley created fantastical scenes that are multi-layered as they are multi-dimensional with a very playful verve in the composition veering on both folk aesthetics to surreal references.
Botanical Theatre (2013) proved to be striking as it is familiar with the top-hatted contingency of men and the lone female figure hearkened back to a Toulouse-Lautrec scene at Mouiin Rouge. But instead of the dark dance hall – it is a very otherworldly scene with fanned out plant life that infringes but not interrupt the mood. Mosley confirmed the Seuss-like plants as a cactus that exists in his created universe. Why paint a regular cactus when it can be as colorful and animated as the people in the painting? Wandering Studio (2013) embodied the whole scenery as thoughts realized with a stage set in a more surrealistic terrain with a background of what can be the Pyramids of Giza or mountain ranges in the realm of Dali. The same cactus plants become part of the composition providing movement. It is one of the pieces without an obvious human figure. Yet it is as engaging when you imagine yourself absorbed into it. Life is a stage. Better act your ass off or let go of logic then enjoy the playfulness of Mosley’s work. Such folksy touches on details and the effervescence of the oeuvre remind me of Sir Peter Blake’s earlier work before he did the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover for the Beatles.
So final thoughts on Mosley’s current oeuvre on display? It all comes from a place of desire to just create and keep his thoughts as abstract which is what most of the paintings illustrated. It shouldn’t follow any logic or train of thought. In that regard, Mosley has given a slice of original and dynamic ideas that engaged us to question ours. And that’s food for thought meaty enough to chew on.
Ryan Mosley: Thoughts of Man / On View: June 27 – August 9, 2013
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday (10 am to 6 pm) & by appt.
Tierney Gardarin. 546 West 29th Street. New York, NY 10001
Art review by: Oscar A. Laluyan
Select Images from Tierney Gardarin courtesy of the artist
Event Photography by: Max Noy