Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Karen Ryan & Straw Dogs

Karen Ryan - Custom Made in England, Vanity series - seen here

I like Karen Ryan's work very much, and I wish I could get down to London in time to see the show she is in at Spring Projects called Straw Dogs - it finishes on 30 July so I'll miss it.

The exhibition includes Jason Brooks, Jake & Dinos Chapman and Hans Stofer and is a response the philosopher John Gray's 2003 book Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals. This book has been a major influence for me in the last few years and I used it as the basis of my essay for a Philosophy of Art module I took trough Cardiff Centre of Lifelong Learning in 2008. It is a bleak view which questions Humanist ideas of progress and suggests that the impetus to understand the world in terms of linear progression is a hangover of Christian theology. He suggests that the drive towards constant improvement has created a paradigm of greed and dislocation from the natural world which has brought us to the brink of self destruction.

Karen Ryan - Fear, Installation - seen here

Gray has been criticised for his bleak approach to his subject, and he is hard to read and come out unaffected, but I feel there is some very important issues for the art world to consider in his ideas. So, I am doubly upset that I won't get to see this show!

Karen Ryan - In the Woods - seen here


  1. Thanks for showing Karen Ryan's new work. I have been a fan of hers for about 6 years now. First seeing her work at DesignersBlock and Rabih Hague. Spring projects looks like a gallery worth visiting . I am especially interested in their acceptance of the blurring of boundaries between design, fine art and maybe even craft.

  2. I've not visited the gallery - but it's on my list when I'm next down! How's things with you? Any new work/shows?

  3. Now that you've asked, Yes, I do have a new show. Just sent you an e mail invitation to it today. "Inventions of the Mind" at The Erasmus Darwin House, Lichfield, 31st July - 23rd Aug. Do let me know if you are able to come as I would love to meet you. I'm always amazed that you are able to write blog posts so regularly. And they are always good interesting posts too!
    Yes I have made some new work. One of the new pieces, "Colin" will be in the Lichfield show and the other is for Liverpool later this year.

  4. Thanks for the info Kirsty - Oooo - I'd love to get over to see the show, let you know if I can!

    Thanks too for kind comments! I really enjoy writing the blog - so much gorgeous stuff out there!


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