kathleen ryan bejewels rotting 'bad fruits' at FRANÇOIS GHEBALY GALLERY
 

kathleen ryan bejewels rotting 'bad fruits' at FRANÇOIS GHEBALY GALLERY

digital exhibition tour: FRANÇOIS GHEBALY GALLERY presents kathleen ryan’s second solo exhibition at the gallery, showcasing a suite of new sculptures depicting bejeweled ‘rotting’ fruits. ryan’s practice thrives in pairing sculptural dualities. heaviness and lightness, handmade and industrial, kitsch and refinement, myth and material — the artist sets these dyads in active tension throughout her work.

kathleen ryan bejewels rotting 'bad fruits' at FRANÇOIS GHEBALY GALLERY
bad melon (big chunk), 2020 | cherry quartz, agate, smoky quartz, amazonite, jasper, aventurine, rhodonite, rhodochrosite, labradorite, quartz, botswana agate, carnelian, glass, cast iron and brass flies, steel and stainless steel pins, polystyrene, aluminum airstream | 38 x 49 x 62 inches (96.5 x 124.5 x 157.5 cm) | all images courtesy of françois ghebaly

 

 

in the exhibition at FRANÇOIS GHEBALY GALLERY, the artist channels these dualisms into a recent series of massive, rotting fruits. studded top to bottom in pinned glass beads and semiprecious stones, these ‘bad fruits’ capture the creeping mold, decaying skins, and collapsing structures of decomposing fruits.

kathleen ryan bejewels rotting 'bad fruits' at FRANÇOIS GHEBALY GALLERY
bad melon (wedge), 2020 | cherry quartz, rose quartz, agate, amazonite, jasper, aventurine, rhodonite, rhodochrosite, labradorite, smoky quartz, quartz, botswana agate, carnelian, horn, citrine, acrylic, glass, cast iron and brass flies, steel and stainless steel pins, polystyrene, aluminum airstream | 46 x 40 x 42 inches (117 x 101.5 x 107 cm)

 

 

the exhibition consists of two large scale sculptural installations. in one, a giant bunch of grapes lies strewn darkly on the floor. its stems form a closed system of copper pipes. the grapes look sunken and wrinkled, as if desiccating their way towards raisinhood. these are not the first grapes in ryan’s output, recalling an earlier series called bacchantes in which she arranged balloon-sized concrete ovoids with chains to evoke a cascade of grapes. but while the bacchantes’ idealized, smooth surfaces recall ancient royalty and grecian myth, this bunch exists in the mortal present — glimmering yes, but unable to hide a slow and inevitable decline.

kathleen ryan bejewels rotting 'bad fruits' at FRANÇOIS GHEBALY GALLERY
bad melon (moldy slice), 2020 | cherry quartz, rose quartz, agate, amazonite, jasper, aventurine, rhodonite, rhodochrosite, labradorite, smoky quartz, quartz, botswana agate, carnelian, horn, citrine, glass, cast iron and brass flies, steel and stainless steel pins, polystyrene, aluminum airstream | 23 x 63 x 21 inches (58.5 x 160 x 53.5 cm)

 

 

the exhibition continues with a floorbound scatter of giant watermelon chunks, arrayed as if dropped from a height and composed of glass beads, gems, stones, and other found objects. for the rind of this bad watermelon, ryan acquired and dismantled a dilapidated 1973 airstream safari camper, its surface marred with scratches, rust spots and dents. despite its cosmetic flaws, the airstream remains iconic of twentieth century mobility and american middle class leisure.

kathleen ryan bejewels rotting 'bad fruits' at FRANÇOIS GHEBALY GALLERY
bad melon (moldy slice), 2020

 

 

this aluminum rind has its windows and antennae intact, lending the work a sci-fi retrofuturism. thrifted housefly-shaped ashtrays serve double duty as both picnic pests and engorged black seeds. cupped in the airstream rinds are small ridges and valleys of pert watermelon flesh. distributed across the wide gallery space, these watermelon chunks recall chinese scholar stones, mountainous terrains in miniature prized for their contemplative possibilities.

kathleen ryan bejewels rotting 'bad fruits' at FRANÇOIS GHEBALY GALLERY
bad melon, 2020 | cherry quartz, rose quartz, agate, smoky quartz, rhodenite, rhotochrocite, labradorite, quartz, citrine, calcite, horn, stone looking beads, silver lace agate, magnacite, rhyolite, botswana agate, carnelian, acrylic, glass, cast iron and brass flies, steel and stainless steel pins, polystyrene, aluminum airstream trailer | 64 x 47 x 103 inches (162.5 x 119.5 x 261.5 cm)

 

 

while the grapes are defined by an arid darkness, the watermelon keeps hold of its juicy buoyancy. we catch one in the process of downward decay, the other reaching upwards in fleshy peaks, all rendered in scavenged beads, gemstones, and trinkets. in this show, we see a contemporary vanitas. this age of plenty has come to rot.

kathleen ryan bejewels rotting 'bad fruits' at FRANÇOIS GHEBALY GALLERY
bad melon, 2020

kathleen ryan bejewels rotting 'bad fruits' at FRANÇOIS GHEBALY GALLERY
bad grapes, 2020 | amethyst, aventurine, agate, garnet, pyrite, ruby in zoisite, tektite, tigereye, turquoise, serpentine, obsidian, blackstone, indian unakite, labradorite, sierra agate, red agate, black agate, serpentine, quartz, marble, amazonite, rhyolite, calcite, dalmation jasper, glass, steel and stainless steel pins, copper tube and copper fittings, polystyrene | 59.5 x 90 x 54 inches (151 x 228.5 x 137 cm)

kathleen ryan bejewels rotting 'bad fruits' at FRANÇOIS GHEBALY GALLERY
bad grapes, 2020

kathleen ryan bejewels rotting 'bad fruits' at FRANÇOIS GHEBALY GALLERY
bad grapes, 2020

kathleen ryan bejewels rotting 'bad fruits' at FRANÇOIS GHEBALY GALLERY
bad grapes, 2020

kathleen ryan bejewels rotting 'bad fruits' at FRANÇOIS GHEBALY GALLERY
bad grapes, 2020

 

 

project info:

 

artist: kathleen ryan
exhibition: bad fruit
gallery: françois ghebaly
location: 2245 E washington blvd, los angeles, CA 90021
dates: february 15 – march 29, 2020

 

 

edited by nina azzarello

 

we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more digital exhibition tours here, and project submissions from designboom readers here.

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