•  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
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Current Exhibition

Ryan Mosley EXHIBITED AT THE SAATCHI GALLERY

Emperor Butterfly
Ryan Mosley
Emperor Butterfly

2007

Oil on linen

160 x 180 cm
Motivated by a sense of the carnivalesque, Ryan Mosley’s canvases offer up a surreal world of invented characters and rituals that are simultaneously archaic and futuristic. Mosley develops his theatrical subjects through a spontaneous approach to painting. “They appear on the canvas,” Mosley explains, “worked, reworked, painted over, feeding on mistakes. They exude the feeling that the characters are having a conversation, or are on stage during a performance. The process is quite organic: sometimes it starts with an idea for narrative, then sometimes, according to the process of the painting, the narrative arrives.” In Emperor Butterfly this layering of drawing with a paint brush and painterly gestures resolves as a figure with multiple limbs. “It’s like a pseudo religious character or a mythic anthropomorphic figure,” Mosley describes, “like a butterfly, or chrysalis transforming. The butterfly motif is also like an authoritative stamp.”
Piano Tuners
Ryan Mosley
Piano Tuners

2011

Oil on canvas

220 x 190 cm
Empress  Butterfly
Ryan Mosley
Empress Butterfly

2007

Oil on linen

200 x 180 cm
Empress Butterfly was conceived as a partner painting to Emperor Butterfly, though Mosley doesn’t think of his figures as clearly gendered: “When painting things such as masquerade or carnival, it’s hard to get away from ideas of transvesticism. I paint women with the same measurements as the men. I can’t justify painting beautiful ladies when the men are so buffoon-like, so I treat them all as equals. Empress Butterfly is an attempt to paint movement; I ended up with this character. All the weight is on one knuckle as if the foetal figure is a chrysalis in transformation. I’m interested in the camouflage pattern, like the eye motif on peacocks that are used for protection. In these two paintings the eyes are like a porthole into something else; stage paint or something like camouflage – a painting of a painting in a painting.”
George And The Dragon
Ryan Mosley
George And The Dragon

2007

Oil on linen

160 x 180 cm
When Mosley was studying art he worked as a security guard at The National Gallery; his days spent surrounded by the works of old masters became a key inspiration for his practice. “I like the fact that passages in art history can sometimes fool you. Characters become almost timeless, like looking at painting from the 13th century which could have been painted yesterday,” Mosley says. “George and The Dragon is based on a Bermejo painting. I guess the artist didn’t know what he was dealing with first hand, in the way of visualising part of the subject? So he alludes to an idea of what might look like a rendition of evil, a dragon, demon, Lucifer. Our idea of a modern dragon might be like that on the Welsh flag, but it could be something else. My George And The Dragon could be more akin to a pub sign of the same name. I like these different historical readings, and use my own narratives in paintings. The diamond formation in the costumes used to be called the ‘devil’s cloth’; if you were slightly kooky or a bit crazy you’d wear this. We now associate this with a harlequin or court jester; it’s like a uniform for the mentally ill.”
Sirens
Ryan Mosley
Sirens

2008

Oil on canvas

190 x 170 cm
“They’re like giant watercolours,” Mosley says of his works. “I build them up through translucent thin washes; painting one colour over the top of another might suggest something - for example cadmium orange over yellow suggests gold. They’re quite gestural, they look like batik or dyed canvas. The surfaces are ‘slippery’, they have an oily seductive quality – the brush just glides over it. Sirens comes from Greek myth, and I was interested in 19th-century paintings of far-flung Greek narratives that were done in a very British way. The characters look quite mechanical like Automatons but perhaps are also able to hold an interesting conversation, so they can suggest something else, especially the costumes: a rahrah skirt, Danish milkmaid’s outfit, devil’s cloth. It’s both frightening and enchanting.”
Limb Dance
Ryan Mosley
Limb Dance

2008

Oil on canvas

160 x 180 cm
Mosley describes Limb Dance as: “like medieval wall painting, the parameter around it is like Rousseau-esque botanical bunting. It’s celebratory and slightly awkward. The Pinocchio character came around the time of the Butterfly series, it’s something evolving: it started off as a figure I painted out, all that was left was a knee on top of a shin which became a head, it was like a spare part of a painting.” In this scene, both of the characters are holding limbs, which could read as processional sceptres, clubs or effigies. Mosley explains the appended body parts: “They’re like helpers or look outs, not offspring, but a recurring genetic trait. They feel like surrogate children. I was thinking about Ruben’s Massacre Of The Innocents – how do you paint the brutality of anatomy just being thrown about?”
Tag Team
Ryan Mosley
Tag Team

2008

Oil on canvas

215 x 275 cm
“Tag Team is more to do with modernity,” says Mosley, “possibly more accessible in iconography. There’s a bearded vanitas on top of a cowboy boot (shades of Clint Eastwood), an afro motif (20th-century disco), a ballerina outfit, and oriental moustache; a cobra with a portrait-cum-camouflage on the back of his head and a guy jumping out of a gramophone: all the makings of a provincial play. There used to be a milkman in the north of England who told me various stories about his clients, some were full-time miners and Wrestlers. He told a fantastic story, about the diets of the wrestling giants, like Big Daddy and King Kong Kirk, TV idols I grew up watching in the 80s. Modern American wrestling is very Hollywood and proscribed in comparison, but then UK wrestling was almost a part-timers’ event in the ways of diet and training – these characters were real ardent professional amateurs compared to modern wrestlers and were happy to stay on the provincial stage. It’s about layman being fantastical. It reminds me of Jonathan Jones saying something about the characters that imagine a balletic Wild West as if painted by Watteau.”
Heavy Bouquet
Ryan Mosley
Heavy Bouquet

2011

Oil on linen

220 x 190 cm
A Bar in France
Ryan Mosley
A Bar in France

2011

Oil on linen

220 x 190 cm

Ryan Mosley's BIOGRAPHY

Ryan Mosley
Born in 1980, Chesterfield, UK
Lives and works in London, UK


SOLO EXHIBITIONS


2014
Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Los Angeles, CA
Alison Jacques Gallery, London, UK

2013
Thoughts of Man, Tierney Gardarin, New York, NY

2012
Reversed Limbo, Eigen + Art, Berlin, Germany

2011
Alison Jacques Gallery, London, UK
Solo Presentation with Alison Jacques Gallery, The Armory, New York

2010
Painting Séance, Grand Arts, Kansas City, MO
Alison Jacques Gallery, London

2009
A Gathering, Regina Gallery, Moscow
Project Room, Alison Jacques Gallery, London

2008
Census, Engholm Engelhorn, Vienna
Art Basel Miami Beach, Engholm Engelhorn, Miami

2004
Eight Years Ago and Before, Bloc Space, Sheffield

GROUP EXHIBITIONS


2013
Zero Hours, S1 Artspace, Sheffield, UK
Re-opening, Eigen + Art, Berlin, Germany

2012
Nightfall, Modem Museum, Hungary
London Twelve: Contemporary British Art, City Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic
Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK
Merging Bridges, Museum of Modern Art, Baku, Azerbaijan

2011
FIFTEEN: 15 Years of S1 Artspace, S1 Artspace, Sheffield, UK
Visions, Monica de Cardenas Gallery, Milan, Italy
Labor, Galerie Eigen + Art, Berlin, Germany
Stories Being Told, BolteLang, Zurich, Switzerland
Make Believe, Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm, Sweden

2010
Newspeak: British Art Now, Saatchi Gallery, London

2009
Daily Miracles, Josh Lilley Gallery, London
Newspeak: British Art Now, Saatchi Gallery at The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
Jerwood Contemporary Painters Prize, Jerwood Space, London (touring to PSL, Leeds, Norwich Gallery, Norwich and New Pitville Gallery, Cheltenham)
Golden Agers & Silver Surfers. Old age and ageing in contemporary art, Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel

2008
Moravia, Cell Project Space, London
Make Believe, Concrete & Glass, London
Cory Michael Project, London
The Painting Room, Transition Gallery, London

2007
Wassail, Cell Project space, London
Summer School, Ibid Projects, London
The Great Exhibition, Royal College Of Art, London
Celeste Art Prize, Old Truman Brewery, London
Dropping's, Blythe Gallery, Imperial College, London

2006
SAUDADE, Highbury Studios, London
Seeking Tacit Utopias, Surface Gallery, Nottingham
Pleasure Yourself, Howie Street London

2004
Dialogues and Disclosures, Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield