I'm a multi-disciplinary artist living and working in Brooklyn. Posting what I make and what I see. Also: manbartlett.com
I first remember meeting Ryan Frank at Winkleman Gallery for an exhibition he curated there called Used Books.* That show “pair[ed] the work of five visual artists with the books that played a role in each artwork’s creation.” Super tight and memorable to say the least. I still think about it, in fact.
Ryan is also involved with The Wassaic Project, which is where we met up the other day for the first part of our visit.
We talked for a while about his background in the theater and Artaud and how he came to where he is today. He described his transition into the visual arts as a result of essentially writing the actors out of the sets. Which, as a former theater major myself, I found fascinating. This background provides a well informed approach to Frank’s work, which straddles the playful yet conceptually rigorous line quite effectively. It also often blurs the lines between art, architecture and props (for lack of a better word). To put it simply, I enjoy looking at his work and thinking about its more formalist aspects. It functions effectively on multiple levels that way.
As the barn was getting chilly, we left Wassaic with some of Ryan’s work for an upcoming show in tow, and made it to the winter studio (aka his basement). But what a basement!
We talked about form and function, and his desire to create functional art (like the stool-in-progress above). Ryan embraces that functional fuzzy area much more than I am willing to.
In maybe a related example, the below piece utilizes the plastic found in fluorescent light casings:
One of the highlights was the below mailbox piece, which I took the liberty of animating (though you may have to click it/here to see?).
Anyhoo the last names of the tenants are the places where their photos were taken (FIELD, CLIFF, GLACIER, BEACH). It’s an fun reveal, to say the least. But there’s also something almost sad about it; the characters are all kind of marginal and forlorn. Yet there is still a simple joy in their discovery, which is somehow not overwrought at all.
Ok! I could go on, but think that’s it for now. I’m still getting adjusted to being back in the city and getting over a cold and have a million things piling up (gratefully). Struggling to find a witty conclusion to this one. But yeah, you’ll be able to see his work at Recession Art in a couple weeks. Do.
Seriously. Wins all around.
And thanks to Ryan for taking the time!
*We may have met before that during #class, also at Winkleman Gallery, though my recollection of that is vague.
Artists like Breanne Trammell make me happy to be alive. Seriously. When I first looked through the work on her site, I found myself laughing in the best possible way. And for a long time.
Her work is filled with seeming contradictions: whimsical yet sincere, personal yet universal, funny yet somehow still serious.
I met her via The Wassaic Project. She also did a residency here and became just as enchanted by this little hamlet as I have become. So she moved here. During our visit we talked about community, leaving the city, and the relationship of artist to practice to location. Specifically in a place as small as Wassaic, human connections are forged and nurtured in a different reality. By convention and desire, but also by necessity. It is a reality that exists in its own time, by its own measure. It is neither “slow” nor “fast” it’s just, unique. Anyhoo, as part of a sort of service to the community up here, in addition to her regular practice Breanne has been making posters for various events around town. At the fire station and the bar, for example (which are pretty much the *only* venues in town). The posters are silkscreened using images from the Wassaic Fire House archives. They’re well designed, and made with care and attention.
As was this awesome rainbow Cheeto hanging above her window. I mean, it’s just a Cheeto, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t just make me smile with a sort of reckless joy.
Trammell also made one of my favorite videos that I came across last year, Yves Klein Blue Jeans (2010). It’s really amazing on so many levels. A one-liner with so much more, the piece has stayed with me. Watch it here. It’s so simple yet perfectly executed.
Ok I could go on, instead, head over to her site. There is a lot to dig through, and in my not so humble opinion, it’s well worth your time.
Oh, she’s also great on Twitter.