Ian Ryan’s painting practice is concerned with exploring the nature of the human condition as experienced via the self and the other.
This series of paintings investigates the iconography of stars from Hollywood's silver screen past. Ian is drawn to these idealised personas that show glamorous and charismatic individuals yet the reality beneath these exteriors reveals much darker truths. Many of these icons paid a heavy personal price pursuing their careers. Drug and alcohol use was actively encouraged to facilitate long working hours and sexual exploitation was rife as they tried to follow their dreams. The effects of this toxic working environment often resulted in tragedy with many accounts of addictions, mental health struggles, suicides and untimely deaths.
Ian’s paintings aim to interrogate the disparities between the public image and personal reality.
Features are exaggerated and rendered in intense, artificial colours intending to promote a sense of the fake. Perspex grounds afford these features to sit somewhat separate to the unrendered materiality of flesh suggesting a duality. These reflective grounds also return the gaze of the viewer and their surroundings hinting that perhaps we are searching for an idealised version of ourselves within such icons.