Ratio 3 is pleased to announce YEARBOOK, the gallery’s third solo exhibition with Ryan McGinley. Conceived as a site-specific installation of the artist’s first series of full-color studio portraiture,YEARBOOK is among McGinley’s most immersive and generous projects to date.
For the first exhibition of his work in Ratio 3’s Mission Street location, McGinley has chosen to take full advantage of the spacious main gallery, presenting hundreds of unique portraits in a massive installation. The artist's customary framing and mounting are eschewed in favor of an immediate and fleeting presentation. YEARBOOK's many images are wheat-pasted onto wood panels lining the gallery walls, transforming the space into a vast and consuming constellation of faces and bodies. Printed on ordinary paper and spread across the gallery’s architecture, the portraits are made vulnerable and intimately accessible to viewers.
Two strong, yet varied motivations originally drew McGinley to studio portraiture in 2009. First, McGinley wanted a functional and casual setting in which to audition models before working more intensely with them during his road trips. Second, stating that he “wanted to see what a McGinley black-and-white would look like,” the artist sought to recontextualize his familiar models within a classical notion of portraiture. After three years shooting and exhibiting portraits as black-and-white images, McGinley has produced a body of work that sits comfortably within the lineage of a historically embraced genre.
Where McGinley’s first studio portraits captured hundreds of models in black and white, most of the portraits comprising YEARBOOK use vibrant monochromatic backdrops. Purples, pinks, violets, blues, reds, greens, oranges, and browns pulsate, alternately clashing and merging with the tones of human flesh, creating intimate spaces that accent the eccentricities of each subject’s physique and personality. Taken as a whole, the images of YEARBOOK modernize the artist’s expansive studio practice, diverging from the lineage of classical portraiture to embrace a pop vernacular.
With YEARBOOK, McGinley shares the latest development of his generational typology. Within this installation, the artist offers privileged access to hundreds of private moments with twenty-second century subjects appearing furtive, playful, serious, and seductive; the monumental and the casual coexist perfectly in this contemporary rogues' gallery of poets, musicians, artists and free spirits.
McGinley’s photographs are included in the collections of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery; and many others. The 35 year-old artist has had solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art; MoMA PS1; the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain; and the Kunsthalle Wien. His work has been featured in solo exhibitions in galleries in London, New York, Frankfurt, Paris, Tokyo, Amsterdam, and Athens. McGinley's upcoming exhibitions include a career survey at the Daelim Contemporary Art Museum in Seoul, South Korea, and a large-scale solo presentation at the Museo d’arte Contemporanea in Rome, Italy.