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Ryan Crotty | Never the Less

January 4 - February 4, 2018

High Noon is proud to present Never the Less, a solo exhibition of new work by Ryan Crotty. At once, the translucent layers of paint that cover the surface and ooze over the edges of the canvas beg the viewer for a methodological understanding of these photographic paintings, but unlike each layer, it is not as transparent an answer. The technique Ryan Crotty has developed in his current body of work is a luminous example of letting the ‘chips fall where they may.’


Specifically, he allows the translucent layers of paint and medium to create a bond with the surface of the canvas, buttressed by modeling paste to act as a “screen,” providing a backlit effect with very little interference, developing a vibrant color palette that seems to exist somewhere amidst RGB and CMYK. The inadvertent subject matter from the surface itself creates unexpected gradients and organic surfaces reminiscent of light-leaks or a scanner mishap resulting in brilliantly lurid color relationships. Touching on the original ideology behind colorfield paintings from the 50s and 60s, the subjects of these paintings are the colors themselves, and in Ryan’s work, the relationships develop as they are pulled together across the surface of the canvas.


The canvas acts as a support for the translucent paint to blend, and the primary colors turn to secondary and tertiary colors as the process takes hold on the surface, creating shapes like an unexpected imprint on your skin after sitting in a rod iron chair. With no strict narrative, the variations of edge quality begin to come into focus without deliberation or intention. Similar to that of film photography, the result of the canvases does not develop until the process takes hold, when the opaque gloss gel medium mixed with pigment dries transparently, just as when you shoot a roll of film the results are not known until development. The layers bleed over the side, like what you imagine a gelatin print photograph would be.

Creating abstract, non-representational compositions of color is intended to create a perceptual phenomena with reference to the Light and Space movement, where the minimalism of subject is then fulfilled by the perception of the viewer to the light working through the layers of oftentimes unconventional media. Never the Less is both an homage to the various iterations of light exploration throughout art history— from the drama of chiaroscuro to the perceptual catharsis of Op Art— and the distillation in Crotty’s new body of work stemming from a knowledge of the history of painting as it relates to his own practice.

Ryan Crotty was born in Auburn, NE and received his BFA from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Crotty went on to earn his MFA from Syracuse University, where he received the Shaffer Award for Best in Show. He has exhibited work in Nebraska, as well as New York, Chicago and Berlin. Central to his practice is time and experimentation in his studio in Auburn, NE where he resides with his family.

Hyperallergic | Retooling Paint for the Digital Era by Stephen Maine

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