Paul Ryan | Becalmed
Eighteen months of Covid. Locked down. Cut adrift. Floating. Seemingly aimlessly, no sign of shore. For many this has been a time of struggle, uncertainty and fear. For me as a painter it has been the most fruitful time of my painting life. I have painted and painted, facing the blank canvas every day, discovering new lines of exploration and going off on new tangents. Excited to get to the studio each morning.
This body of work brings together a number of themes and events. As always, it is a continuation of my ongoing exploration of colonial Australia: there are paintings of a becalmed tall ship, and native Australian birds are reflected in mirror-like water surfaces. Another theme I’ve been playing with for over thirty years is the view of my home coast, as seen from the water, viewed from a small boat but unable to make land – the green surge a deadly impasse.
Setting out on a new journey. Destination unknown. Terrified and excited in equal measure.
Paul Ryan, 2021
Ryan’s expressive, ‘punk impasto’ painting style has seen him elected a finalist in the Archibald prize fourteen times, and also selected as a finalist in the Wynne Prize four times and seven
times in the Sulman. Most recently, he was a finalist in the 2019 Archibald and Sulman
prizes. Ryan won the Geelong Contemporary Art Prize in 2012, and the Paddington Art
Prize in 2007 and 2010. Ryan was a finalist in the 2018 Mosman Prize and the 2018 Doug
Moran Prize Ryan’s work is held in many significant collections including The Geelong
Gallery; Artbank; Lismore Regional Gallery; Woolongong Regional Art Gallery; Mosman Art
Gallery; Woolongong University Collection; The Manly Art Gallery and many private and
corporate collections nationally and internationally.