LONDON.- Exposure Gallery
and TAG Fine Arts present a joint exhibition of work by Rob Ryan and Stephen Walter showing their own unique perspectives of our capital city.
Rob Ryan studied fine art at Nottingham Trent before completing an MA in printmaking at the Royal College of Art. A highly acclaimed illustrator, he represented TAG as part of the gallerys launch in January 2007 at the London Art Fair.
Ryans elaborate cut paper works have appeared in collaborations with Libertys of London, Paul Smith, Tatty Devine, and Vogue and now illustrate his book, This Is For You: a fairytale told through hand cut paper. Ryan is a romantic; his highly decorative paper cuts and screen prints show loving couples with hands clasped, surrounded by church bells, boats, boughs, and other motifs.
On close inspection, you discover words delicately cut amongst the imagery and see a world filled with dark as well as light where love, hate, loss, pain, fear and death are interwoven. This body of work, beneath its overtly visual romanticism, is visceral in its melancholy.
Ryans poetry-filled art evokes fairy-tales; the simple and straightforward subjects are in marked contrast to the deceptively sophisticated manner in which the works are made, painstakingly hand-cut with the smallest scalpels from the finest papers.
London Bridge Lady was commissioned by ELLE magazine to celebrate 25 years of London Fashion Week and was seen on the limited edition front cover in October 2009. Perched on London Bridge, over-looking the city, this fashion queen epitomises all that is beautiful about the global fashion empire so central to Londons cultural heritage.
London born artist, Stephen Walter was inspired by the unfolding drama of city life. The Island: London Series is a collection of intricate drawings mapping the 33 individual boroughs as well as amalgamating them into one large island. A citys ability to constantly reinvent itself, building on top of what was before, continually shifting its cultural identity has been a source of enduring fascination, explains Walter.
The Island took two years to complete and requires the use of a magnifying glass to decipher its central areas. It intricately ties the mapping of the city to its historical legacy from pre-Christian times to the present day. The geographically accurate map includes many of Londons main roads, railway lines, landmarks and green spaces. However, on closer inspection, The Island has its own unique identity fashioned by the artists idiosyncratic semiotics, wittily juxtaposed with the familiar everyday signage of maps and public spaces.
Whilst working on this project, Walter studied numerous historical documents, London travel literature and antique maps, including Peter Ackroyds Biography of London, Ian Sinclairs explorations into the embedded fault lines of the City, and Phyllis Pearsalls AZ of London.
Another invaluable source of information for the piece was Wikipedia, where the artist searched London place names and sourced amusing trivia on purely capricious grounds. Indeed, Stephen Walters lucid combination of diverse source material and his accurate re-mapping of the city that is so compelling, inviting viewers to re-visit the piece and discover something quite new each time, maybe even their own house or road!
In April 2010, Walter will be exhibiting Magnificent Maps. Power, Propaganda and Art at the British Library alongside other contemporary map makers including Grayson Perry.
The exhibition runs from February 4 through March 2, 2010.