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Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Rob Ryan at The Air Gallery

Last weekend I visited The Air Gallery on Dover Street to see Rob Ryan’s enchanting exhibition ‘The Stars Shine All Day Too’.

Having seen snippets of information about the show dotted about in magazines and on blogs I was very keen to see Ryan’s work for myself. The exhibition displays new works by the artist, both handcrafted paper cut works, and more affordable prints of his most evocative designs.

I felt like I was entering a fairytale world. Each piece offers a fragment of a story which I enjoyed augmenting in my imagination. Often I feel contemporary artists shy away from letting their work be too romantically inclined, perhaps to stop it becoming commercial, or perhaps they feel it makes their work less unique. Rob Ryan’s work is the perfect example of the romantic without cliché and kitschness.

The works come in all shapes and sizes, one of my favourites is a little red cut out design on white, that pictures a high heeled show, with a highly decorative background. Others are more fantastical and reminded me of films like ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’. I later found out that in fact Tim Burton and Helena Bonham-Carter had visited the show and bought some pieces.

Also on display is the spectacular collaboration between Rob Ryan and accessory designing goddess Lulu Guinness. Together they have created a beautiful one-off clutch bag that is soon to be auctioned off for charity. It shows two lovers on a bench kissing beneath a starry sky. Inside it is signed by both artists and has a touching embroidered message.

Some pieces include thoughtful poetry, the words of runaway lovers, and hopeless romantics, or just a few words that conjure up a memory or emotion, a moral or a statement. The wonderful thing about Ryan’s work is you can take from it what you want, there are no obscure concepts or abstract truths, just beautiful work that shows real craftsmanship and creativity.

‘The Stars Shine All Day Too’ continues at The Air Gallery until 20 November, 2011. Check out more on Rob Ryan here.

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