18 Sep 2015 – 08 Nov 2015
Laura Bartlett Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by American painter Ryan McLaughlin. This will be the artist’s first show with the gallery.
Hung in the gallery are 11 paintings, at once familiar, their scale mirroring the same ISO 216 paper sizes used globally to shape and tally visual information. They are dimensions that span realms public and private, urban and rural, mobile and static. Here, McLaughlin adopts them as a default for his linen panels and as a foil to a particular, even unusual, use of paint. His engaging cast of techniques and studied color reveal an archaeology of mark-making in expanses where once something may have previously existed, but in McLaughlin’s workings, something new, or the potential of something new is unearthed. Imagery is dually asserted and obscured.
For example, in Air Poule, 2015 a hybridized version of the Air France logo, originally a winged horse with the tail of a fish, the horse has been replaced with the top half of a hen. More an animal of flight than a horse and perhaps better representative of an airline, yet due to its size and weight defunct to flying only a few meters off the ground.
Similarly, in Akbar al Baker, 2015, McLaughlin abbreviates and distorts the logo of Qatar Airways to ‘QA’, yet retains a colour scheme similar to the airline’s standard livery. The work is named after the formidable CEO of Qatar Airways, a leader in the new wave of refined, international travel currently being pioneered by Gulf carriers. In Etihad, 2015, McLaughlin has reversed the ‘E’ turning it into a crudely rendered number ‘3’ and painting it green. Moving away from aviation, but evidencing transit and migration in a different sense, in Demeter, 2015 McLaughlin takes the original logo of the German organic food standards authorising agency Demeter International, founded in 1928, and simply joins each letter in a painterly cursive typeface.
There is also an undercurrent of the absurd and incongruous displayed within these works. The painting Basler, 2015, a treatment of the well-known German fashion brand targeted at the mature woman, plays with the balance of the presentation. Additionally, the two Bullybong paintings, both 2015, depict bongs with Bully, the bull mascot from the now-defunct TV series Bullseye, as their base.
It is in the fusion of these approaches that McLaughlin embraces the precariousness of the image.
Ryan McLaughlin was born in 1980 in Worcester, MA, USA. He lives and works between Germany and the United States. He graduated from B.F.A Rhode Island School of Design in 2003. Recent solo exhibitions include Locus PM, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, Germany (2015), Rasins, Laurel Gitlen, New York, United States (2013), Barbara I&II, Lüttgenmeijer, Berlin, Germany (2012-13), Bunsen, The Two Jonnys’, London, United Kingdom (2010), Nottle, Lüttgenmeijer, Berlin, Germany (2009); Recent group exhibitions include Morning and Evening Asylum, Off Vendome, Düsseldorf, DE; Tanya Leighton, Berlin, Germany (2014), The Made-up Shrimp Hardly Enlightens Some Double Kisses, Laurel Gitlen, New York, United States (2013), Based in Berlin, Atelierhaus Monbijoupark, Berlin, Germany (2011), Waking the Dead, Autocenter, Berlin, Germany (2010); When the Mood Strikes…;The Collection of Wilfried & Yannicke Cooreman-de Smedt, MDD Museum Dhondt- Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium (2009); I Was Lookin’ Back to See if You Were Lookin’ Back at Me to See Me Lookin’ Back, Loraini Alimantiri-gazonrouge, Remap 2, Athens, Greece.
The artist would like to thank Christian and Jeannette zu Fürstenberg for their generous support.