Rob Ryan’s loneliness, yearning & unfulfilled desire

Sims Reed Gallery

23 October – 8 November

Rob Ryan’s artwork is instantly recognisable because it is so prolific. It features in magazines; collaborations with other artists and designers; and on merchandise for sale to the general public.

December 2, 2013
by Melisa Thomas
Rob Ryan, There is Only time, 2013
Rob Ryan, There is Only time, 2013

The first noticeable thing about the images is the fact they are decorative and “pretty”, yet on closer inspection they deal with poignant themes, such as loneliness, yearning and unfulfilled desire. Where happiness or an appreciation of beauty is expressed by the pictures and words, there is usually the suggestion of transience, or bittersweet quality.

The work tends to either be reproduced as photographs of the original paper-cuts, or from the screen-prints produced from the paper-cuts.

One might suppose that since these reproductions are so abundant, it cannot be worth going to view the original pieces.  However, for Rob Ryan: There is Only Time the impact is striking of having the actual paper-cuts instantly accessible.  Their context and meaning paled into insignificance as I marvelled at the attention to detail, and how one single sheet of paper can be cut so meticulously.

The paper-cuts appear more fragile when seen “in the flesh”, partly because the pieces have been allowed to curl and separate from the backs of the frames, with the shadows adding impact.  There are also prints on display, but for me they were less exciting to see than the paper-cuts themselves.

There is Only Time coincides with the publication of his new book, The Invisible Kingdom