The small Greek island Patmos and the minimalist poems of Robert Lax were the inspiration for the paintings in a new exhibition that open March 25 at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University.
The exhibition features paintings by artist Abbey Ryan, an associate professor of visual art at Arcadia University in suburban Philadelphia, who visited Patmos in 2017.
Patmos was the longtime home of American poet and Olean native Lax (1915-2000), whose singular form of minimalist poetry and seemingly solitary existence inspired Ryan to start “the light / the shade” series of paintings.
The exhibition titled “the light/the shade” – also the title of a Lax poem – includes landscape and still life paintings that were done while Ryan was in Patmos or were inspired by her travels to the island. The postcard-sized images depict native fish and fruit as well as island views, some reflected in or framed by windows and doors, and set to excerpts from Lax’s poems.
There’s another aspect of Ryan’s work that will interest visitors: Ryan paints every day. Well, she doesn’t just paint every day. She starts and finishes a complete painting every day. In 2007, she challenged herself to make a complete painting each day for her blog. Now, 12 years later, she is still going strong. Visit her webpage at www.abbeyryan.com to learn more or watch her paint.
The artist will visit St. Bonaventure’s campus on Thursday, April 11, for a 3 p.m. gallery talk, during which she will discuss the paintings in her exhibition and her experiences on Patmos, as well as connections between Lax’s writings and her own artistic practice. The exhibition and the lecture are free and open to the public.
Ryan received her B.F.A. in painting and B.A. in scientific illustration from Arcadia University in 2003, and her M.F.A. in painting from Hunter College, City University of New York, in 2007. In addition, she studied painting with David A. Leffel at the Art Students League of New York, as well as medical and biological illustration in the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
At Arcadia, Ryan teaches courses in drawing, painting, and entrepreneurship in the arts. In addition, she teaches professional painting seminars across the United States and abroad, offers private atelier instruction in her studio in Philadelphia, and individual painting mentoring online.
Ryan’s work has been featured in a number of magazines, include Oprah Magazine, Seth Godin’s Linchpin: Are You Indispensible?, FOX’s Good Day Philadelphia, BoingBoing, Artists & Illustrators, Making It In the Art World, New Markets For Artists, Fine Art Connoisseur, American Art Collector, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Yale Radio, and many others. Her work is in more than 1,300 private and museum collections on six continents. With 35,000 followers, her blog has had more than 1 million visitors from more than 100 countries. She is represented by Gleason Fine Art, Portland, Maine.
This project is made possible in part through the support of the Dr. Norman Johnston Faculty Fellowship in the Humanities and Social Sciences at Arcadia University.
The galleries at the Quick Center are open noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free. Learn more at www.sbu.edu/QuickCenter.
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