Juxtapoz Magazine – “Promise Witness” by Ryan Whelan @ pt.2 Gallery, Oakland

ByMary E. Alvarez

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It was cold on the mountain as a North Pacific gale seated alone on our coastline. The subalpine bouquets accrued their share with little persuasion. It was outside of environmentally friendly, I gazed into nothing, The wind was a group. Not anticipating my solitude to be distorted by thoughts of our good friend, Ryan Whelan, I arrive listed here on days of negative weather conditions being aware of no person else will. California is masterful at its staging of liminal poetics, and this time was no exception. For individuals of you who believe that in gifts bestowed by extraordinary forces, I yet again come across myself: Spicer’s Nimrod. Jack Spicer, the championed Bay Location poet, believed the poet’s get the job done is reduced to an almost mechanical act of listening and receiving to what Spicer identified as the Exterior—a subject of forces that invade somewhat than encourage, and prior to which the poet is tiny more than a secretary having dictation. Now totally poised to acknowledge the assertion of the Exterior, the limits at the time imposed upon Ryan’s get the job done are enjoyably nonexistent.

It is doable the lushness of this landscape introduced me back to where Ryan’s previous functions had still left us deep inside of intimately crafted verdant worlds, in which the burdens of modernity fell to the usage of mother nature. Just one piece of his in individual, manufactured in 2020, exhibited this stance.


There is an open field 


Just increasing greener.

Though these lines do not necessarily use to the aesthetic route these new functions acquire, I locate the ethos of this poetic observation correctly summarizes the ultimate voice he is intrigued in casting out to us.

Prior to this metastasization of considered, I experienced solicited the help of Ryan’s most trusted confidant, his wife & fellow artist Liz Hernandez, for assistance as to how to proceed with drafting language about this new physique of function. She went on to say ​​his paintings functionality as totems of self-reflection. These varieties remind us of our insignificance and offer us a even bigger point of view. They are emblems that make us query our mortality mainly because they will outlive us. The phrase Guarantee Witness rang through me. Something I see as a moral determination to the obligations and consequences of dwelling one’s everyday living as a witness to all possibilities.

I had in the beginning considered these to be oppositional works rooted in their distaste for the commodification of concept, or narrative in modern art. I was mistaken. What I had begun to realize is as a result of this gestural abstraction, Ryan encourages us to transcribe our unique inner resonance, like Spicer encouraged the resonant howl of the Outdoors. Through the addition and subtraction of levels, the symphonic harmony of raking gentle, the choreographed utilization of both equally fingers, and the intentionality of stroke, an experiential follow unfolds alone. These are certainly works of Ryan’s, the familiarity of keystone elements continues to be silently in command. They are simply just absolutely free to move on their own in any way at the behest of an artist who finds himself standing on the verge amid a revelatory glow.

Prepared by Cole Solinger // Promise Witness will be on look at at pt.2 Gallery as a result of June 3, 2022


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