Will Ryman: Anyone and No One
February 16th – March 24th, 2012
Paul Kasmin Gallery
293 Tenth Avenue, New York, NY 10001
Private view February 16th, 2012, 6 – 8pm
Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to announce Will Ryman’s first exhibition at the gallery. The exhibition will include new site specific works at both Chelsea galleries, making Ryman the first artist represented by Paul Kasmin to show in both gallery spaces at the same time.
In the 293 Tenth Avenue space, Ryman will create a 90-foot figure lying against the perimeter of the gallery walls. The state of the figure’s presence is intentionally ambiguous: is he sleeping or dying? The figure references the “everyman,” or a man made of four hundred “souls,” as represented by the four hundred and eighty-five shoes that make up his shirt. His arms, hands, and feet are composed of three thousand silver bottle caps, turning his flesh into detritus. The Everyman sculpture will overtake the entire first gallery, forming the figure of a man stuffed into a white box. In the next room, Ryman will create a labyrinth made of two hundred thousand paintbrushes stacked on top of each other, towering up to fourteen feet tall, and meandering throughout the gallery. These curved spaces will evoke organic structures that can be navigated by the viewer.
Ryman will transform the new Paul Kasmin Gallery space located at 515 W. 27th Street with a 12-foot high, 16-foot wide sculpture, Bird. Made with fifteen hundred actual and fabricated nails in the shape of a bird, the work weighs two tons and is loosely inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven. Through this sculpture, Ryman changes the meaning of the nail, which is traditionally used to connect materials and build structures. By dramatically altering its scale and using it in excessive quantities, Ryman creates new shapes and patterns that reference mythology, spirituality and art history. Similarly, the outsized scale of the entire sculpture transforms the architecture of the gallery into a cage.
With these three installations, Ryman will alter scale and space by creating dreamlike environments and changing the meaning of everyday mundane objects. Formerly a playwright whose work was largely influenced by Absurdist philosophy, Ryman’s works incorporate autobiographical, spiritual and art historical references. Ryman currently has an exhibition “The Desublimation of the Rose “at Fairchild Botanical Gardens, Miami, Florida. His most recent exhibitions include, “The Roses” on Park Avenue, New York (2011). Individual works have been exhibited at the Verbier Foundation, Switzerland; Fairchild Gardens; Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN; The American Academy of Arts and Letters; Reconfiguring the Body in American Art, 1820-2009 (2009), at The National Academy of Design, New York; and The Shape of Things to Come (2009), at The Saatchi Gallery, London. Sculpture: Selections from the collection of Martin Z. Margulies (2007), at Margulies Warehouse, Miami; and Greater New York 2005, at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, New York.