Christopher Ryan, associate professor of art at Hiram College, presents paintings from recent travels in Italy.
The exhibit consists of three series of work: the “Tourist series,” “Pavimenti” series (Italian for “floors”) and the “Landscape series.”
The six panels of the “Tourist series” explore the ubiquitous presence of tourists and the culture of consumption associated with mass tourism, and the tenuous relationship between tourism and the artifacts and historic sites of Italy.
The primary body of paintings, the “Pavimenti”“series, presents the ancient and medieval mosaic and inlaid stone floor designs found throughout Italy juxtaposed with objects and debris from contemporary society. This “dialogue” created between contrasting elements (old and new, public and private, sacred and profane, etc.), suggests enigmatic events transpired or allegories that address themes that are both autobiographical and universal.
Tracing the footsteps of 18th and 19th century artists who followed the itineraries of the Grand Tour, the “Landscape series” captures the quality of Italy’s light, the harmonious colors, the interlocking planes of the man-made landscape, and the graceful shapes of the natural landscape.