Here Comes The Rooster: Ryan Travis Christian in Hong Kong
Back to Hong Kong after being first introduced to the local audience by Over The Influence during the Art Basel week in 2019, Ryan Travis Christian opened his solo debut with the Hong Kong and LA-based gallery on September 3rd. Aside from being his first solo exhibition in Asia, Here Comes The Rooster marks a significant shift for the artist in terms of scale, technique, as well as composition.
Working his way through a continuously busy schedule, packed back-to-back with international group showings, Christian certainly managed to make his first solo show of 2020 a standout presentation. Full of pent-up energy and sheer determination, after a history of making small pieces, Here Comes The Rooster introduces a whole series of bigger scale works on paper, and for the first time, a small series of oils on canvas. "It felt great, very liberating," the artist tells Juxtapoz about this interlude. "I've been sitting in a chair hunched over a drawing table working on small things forever. So it was really great to stand, move around a bit, ya know? I figured, let's up the scale a bit and mess around with some new mediums while I'm at it (charcoal/ oil paints)."
Composed in signature black and white imagery directly inspired by his Chicagoland surroundings, the works relish an unrestrained cartoon aesthetic, looking askance at the convolution of everyday affairs. Politics, drugs, viruses, and contemporary life in suburban America are just some of the subjects Christian skews with through a witty use of anthropomorphism. While a favorite motif for the artist, in addition to the increase in scale, he also introduces a more focused approach in constructing his images. "After doing the same sort of thing for so long, I really craved some sort of change of pace," he told us about this new, more concentrated series of work.
Images skip like bounding tumbleweeds from pitch-black explosions to silky-soft surfaces and everything in between in a confident, but free flowing manner as Christian welcomes the occasional messiness to accentuate his subjects’ nature. Creating dynamism or the illusion of transparency by incorporating rough and residual marks into the image, he seems to reference the current cacophony of the world around him. "The drawings as a whole have a lot to do with the feeling of impending chaos, for obvious reasons, hence, HERE COMES THE ROOSTER (no, it's not related to Alice in Chains). The individual pieces tackle more specific subjects and feelings under this umbrella," he explains of how the title, imagery, and aesthetics of the new work connect with a world that one ong and looping Saturday morning cartoon. —Sasha Bogojev