Paul Ryan

South by Southwest

22 June — 10 July 2021

1964, Auckland
Lives and works in Thirroul, NSW

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The human dichotomy—embodied in the vision of the white sails of a square-rigged ship silhouetted on the horizon—has ricocheted throughout the history of colonisation. For the colonial naval powers, it was an emblematic romantic metaphor—riches and fame awaited. For those looking from the shoreline, the all-pervasive invasions would be nothing short of disastrous. As decades stretched to centuries, it would be an experience etched into the collective psyche of millions of people the world over. 

Paul Ryan’s South by Southwest delves into this pictorial history. For the artist, it is localised, but the conversation is broader. His brooding seascapes, ships and colonial figures draw upon the work of the 18th and 19th century romantic and travel artists. Many of these paintings possessed a swashbuckling sensibility, underscoring the misguided belief that the ‘undiscovered’ world was there for the taking.

Central to this exhibition are the sailing ships—many reflective in their repose. They possess a thematic duality for the audience. The ships, emblematic of man’s ingenuity and bravery, hold a more powerful subtext—they echo the classical myth of Narcissus, the exquisitely handsome young man who fell in love with his own reflection in a dark pool. His fate was to pine away from his own unfrequented love. The artist leads us with the sailing ship as a metaphor for the failure of colonial powers obsessed with their own sense of Empire. It is an important invitation to reflect on our history—to read and re-read what has happened in the past.

For Ryan, the sublime morphs into the gothic—his robust, yet delicate approach to making his paintings echo the ebb and flow of the waves that he knows so well. In other places, the exhibition delves into the minor moments of the artist’s seafaring narrative. The mariners’ tattoos—personalised mythology, are treated with Ryan’s pictorial wit and elegant draftsmanship. The images are ultimately woven into the vast composition of the artist's wallpaper installation, hinting at the stately homes that once exhibited the spoils of Empire.

South by Southwest is an exhibition that possesses an elemental swagger. Yet, the concerns of the artist are deep and profound.  He delivers a message that is fundamental to understanding the past, and integral to the recognition and healing that is required from past wrongs.

Ralph Hobbs
June 2021

 

ARTIST TALK
Join Paul Ryan in conversation with Ralph Hobbs on Saturday 3 July at 2pm RSVP HERE

\ Exhibition featured works

Paul Ryan

Agave Coast

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 102 x 92cm

Paul Ryan

Arrived. White Storm

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 82 x 72cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

At Anchor

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 112 x 122cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Black Butterfly. Blue butterfly

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 97 x 82cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Black Moon

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 76 x 51cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Burnt Coast

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 60 x 91cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Butterfly

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 56 x 46cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Cove Study II

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 51 x 41cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Cove Study III

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 58 x 46cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Cove Study IV

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 51 x 41cm

Paul Ryan

Emeraldo

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 61 x 51cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Float like a butterfly

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 102 x 92cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Flutter

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 41 x 31cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Hello John. Got New Motor

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 112 x 112cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Idol

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 102 x 92cm

Paul Ryan

Inlet

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 61 x 61cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Leaving

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 84 x 84cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Little Cloud

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 41 x 31cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Midnight Habour

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 102 x 92cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Mutiny

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 112 x 122cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Narcissus

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 123 x 92cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

New North Wind

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 102 x 92cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Night Cloud I

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 138 x 122cm

Paul Ryan

Night Cloud II

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 71 x 82cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Rarotonga

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 97 x 83cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Rosella

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 61 x 52cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Safe Harbour

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 102 x 92cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Safe Harbour Study

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 61 x 51cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Sails

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 87 x 87cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Siren

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 122 x 122cm

Paul Ryan

Squall

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 57 x 52cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Tahiti Revisited (After William Hodges)

2019 \ Oil on linen \ 200 x 320cm

Paul Ryan

Tall Ship Study

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 51 x 41cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

The Botanist and the storm

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 138 x 122cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

The Captain

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 102 x 102cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

The Cove Study I

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 51 x 42cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

The Cove. Orion

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 122 x 112cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

The Crossing

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 102 x 92

Paul Ryan

The Guard

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 113 x 123cm

Paul Ryan

The Nothing

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 56 x 46cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

The Return

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 102 x 92cm

Paul Ryan

The Void

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 41 x 31cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

The Wreck

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 57 x 52cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

There's Blood on the Seas. If Ya Map em II

2021 \ Oil on Linen \ 122 x 122cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

Under Orion

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 102 x 92cm

Paul Ryan

Will Paint Head for $29.95

2021 \ Oil on linen \ 122 x 112cm

SOLD

Paul Ryan

\ Installation Photo

Paul Ryan

\ Installation Photo

Paul Ryan

\ Installation Photo

Paul Ryan

\ Installation Photo

Paul Ryan

\ Installation Photo

\ Other exhibitions

Leslie Rice

Disco/iNFERNO (Redux)

21 October — 30 October 2021

James Powditch

The Proposition

18 October — 30 October 2021

Adam Cullen

Ned Kelly, Judges, Divas and other things...

21 September — 9 October 2021

Contact Us

to find out more about South by Southwest.

12 - 14 Meagher Street Chippendale, NSW 2008
Opening Hours
Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm Saturday, 11am - 4pm COVID Safe Check-in: As part of the Nanda\Hobbs COVID safety plan, all visitors to the gallery must sign in via the Service NSW QR code.