Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 7, No. 3, 2008
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Robert J. Lewis
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Laura Hollick
Louise Jalbert
Rosemary Scanlon
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Francine Hébert
Marcel Dubois
Ruben Cukier
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William Kinnis & Dominique Tremblay
Gudrun Vera Hjartardottir
Gee's Bend Quilt Collective
Magie Dominic
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

installation, sculpture, ceramic

introduced by
David Forster


Contemporary excesses are laid bare in Ryan McClelland’s sick visual taxidermy of modern life. McClelland presents everyday scenes of low-culture in his cool, stark images of the Zeitgeist. Allowing the subject to choose the proper medium, the artist shows himself equally comfortable and capable in installation, sculpture, ceramic and print. In respect to the latter, what initially strikes the viewer is the pure physicality of the artwork, which occupies a scale more akin to painting than precious print making, although he uses traditional linoblock techniques. A myriad of stylistic and ideological contradictions present themselves, intending to deride the notion of the fine arts as being the exclusive purveyor of good taste. McClelland’s work exudes a punky nihilism and he employs a consciously “primitive” approach to his practice.

© Ryan McClelland

Modern consumer references, appearing in powerful scenes of degradation, show branded characters frolicking and fighting in retail parks and night clubs, desperately trying to transgress the nightmare of their existence. McClelland opts for what he describes as a “Zombified” means of production, subverting the language of decorative arts into his own ridiculous Frankenstein creations. He uses equal amounts of irony and sincerity to paint his own romantically bleak pictures of society.

© Ryan McClellandThe living dead return to a shopping mall, the sun sets upon its tarmac as wide-eyed kidults come out to play. Frolicking in the shadows of neon lights, they act out their own ersatz rock ‘n’ roll fantasies, where reality and fiction collide in chemically fuelled narratives of faux decadence.

McClelland’s ceramic sculptures and installations are monuments to the vulgarity of the western consumer society. The flotsam and jetsam of our urban experiences are piled high in complex sculptures and objects of decadence while ephemera are incongruously juxtaposed, creating tensions between the notions of trash and treasures. His unique brand of bastardized craft stands apart from the current state of sculpture. McClelland’s work is slick craftwork injected with ironic wit. You are seduced by its luster and glaze, but soon recognize the detritus used to create these totemic trophies to low-brow culture.

© Ryan McClelland


© Ryan McClelland

Ryan McClelland graduated from Goldsmiths College in 2002 and gained an MA in Fine Art Printmaking from the Royal College of Art in 2007. He has exhibited internationally since 2002. Recent exhibitions include The New Radicals, Galleri Sigma, Sweden (2002), Domesticity, The Victoria & Albert Museum (2005), New News From Nowhere, William Morris Museum (2006), Pinocchio Related, Hockney Gallery London & Venice Academia (2006) and Urban Monsters, Boston USA (2007).

For further information about Ryna McClelland please contact David Harris the Forster Gallery:

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