RALEIGH, NC.- CAM Raleigh
is presenting a major exhibition of artworks by Ryan Travis Christian, titled Well, Here We Aren't Again. This is Christians first museum show and features a large-scale wall drawing. Christian is spending three weeks in CAM Raleighs Independent Gallery creating a 26-foot long drawing. Visitors are welcome to watch his unique process of drawing during museum hours. Ryan Travis Christian is a Chicago-area artist who works primarily with graphite and ink. His images are constructed using abstract elements, comic utilities, and old fashion cartoon iconography.
Ryan Travis Christians drawings, though not literally animated, are full of motion, explosions, eye-bulges, jazz hands, frenetic patterns and formal gymnastics worthy of a Futurists kaleidoscopic vision of a speeding, pulsating humanity. Like the Futurists and the Cubists before him, Christian is concerned with picturing time and space as fractured and multi-dimensional characters bounce back to life no matter how absurd the violence.
This warping of mortality informs Ryan Travis Christians artworks. His chiaroscuro graphite drawings recall the black and white Disney cartoons of the 1920s. In nodding to early Disney animation, Christian fills in his characters with the cultural politics of that era. The hugely influential Disney animator Ub Iwerks emigrated from Germany to the US and gave life to Mickey. Iwerks was responsible for defining the Disney style and developed it simultaneous to German Expressionism. Christian borrows freely from the campy horror of Iwerks cult classic, where a graveyard is a playground for death to rattle out its funeral song. Here, humor is horror in disguise. Christians zigzag patterns and over-crowded compositions engulf the viewer and create a new visual vocabulary. Christian is informed by contemporary artists such as Arturo Herrera and Kenny Scharf's psychedelic monsters. Christian deconstructs the Disney fantasy lifestyle with cartoon icons and erases their iconic identity features.
Ryan Travis Christians Well, Here We Aren't Again, is organized by CAM Raleigh. It is curated by Elysia Borowy-Reeder, executive director of CAM Raleigh and coordinated at CAM Raleigh by Kate Shafer, gallery and exhibitions manager. CAM Raleigh is collaboration between the Contemporary Art Foundation, the community and North Carolina State Universitys (NC State) College of Design.