William Griffin Gallery is pleased to announce Exploded Moment, its ninth exhibition by Liza Ryan. In the last several years, Ryan’s work has moved beyond photography in its traditional sense. By cutting, collage, and drawing on her photographs, she expands the possibilities of the photographic image.
In her latest body of work, Ryan explores how heightened awareness can transform our idea of “reality”. Ryan often uses her camera like a microscope and crystallizes seconds that would normally go unobserved. These “small” occurrences can be too fleeting to rise from the morass of visual information surrounding them. Exploded Moment, the piece from which the series and the exhibition draw their name, is pieced together out of strips cut from photographs. It appears abstract at first, but upon close inspection, representational details emerge. The piece is scaled to the height of Ryan’s car window but stretches far beyond its width. The experience of driving fast and being bombarded with visual stimuli—none of which is clearly visible at the time—simulates in miniature the experience of our fast-paced lives.
A recurrent theme throughout the Exploded Moment series is light. The power of light to illuminate and/or obliterate information, and the seductiveness of both, interests Ryan. In Six Suns (pictured), images of the sun are closely cropped to leave only a brilliant core of white light surrounded by a fringe of colored information. These works become an evocative metaphor for the erasure or blindness that occurs when overwhelmed by visual stimuli. Like many of the works in the show, the images in Six Suns occupy the border between representation and abstraction.
Ryan was recently the subject of a solo exhibition at Reed College’s Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery in Portland, Oregon. A catalog was published in conjunction with the exhibition. Several of Ryan’s works were also included in State of Mind, a group exhibition at the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego. She has also been the subject of solo exhibitions at The Herter Gallery at the University of Massachusetts and the Hollins University Art Gallery in Virginia. In 2009, The J. Paul Getty Museum acquired a thirty-foot long multi-paneled photographic work by Ryan through a gift from Manfred and Hanna Heiting. Ryan’s work is also held in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Maison Européen de la Photographie, Paris, among others. She lives and works in Los Angeles.