Juxtapoz // Friday, March 28, 2008
Kinsey/DesForges is pleased to present Virgina-based artist Ryan McLennan in his first exhibition with the gallery, titled From Fur to Bone, which opens Saturday, April 5th.
McLennan is part of a vanguard of young painters who have twisted the conventional, naturalist approach to depicting animals and environmental themes in mischievous ways to the serious end of drawing attention to environmental issues.
In the tradition of great naturalist painters such as John James Audubon, McLennan has become both student and advocate: inspired by many hours spent in the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains, this VCU grad and Virginia native has undertaken an in-depth inquiry into the evolution and displacement of North America wildlife, and his understanding of changing patterns in their behavior, incurred as a direct result of changes and destruction to their natural habitats, is evidenced in his maturing body of work.
Figuring prominently among the skeletal trees which serve as broken shelter to the smaller wildlife depicted in his paintings are fantastical plant-like bears in various repose—draped, hanging, prone and often torn, McLennan’s topiary bears serve not only as sustenance and shelter for playful groupings of elk and raccoons, moose and foxes, but pointedly appear to be the only greenery available to them. The bears, in being devoured, suggest a kind of symbiosis, but could also serve as effigies for a human society that has upset the balance of global ecology. More info at kinseydesforges.com.