As part of its Viewing Room programme, Simon Lee Gallery presents a concise solo exhibition by New York-based artist Ryan Mrozowski. His latest work – paintings in acrylic on linen, covered in natural and botanical motifs – explores optics, repetition and the depiction of nature, examining perception and the ways in which we experience pattern.
Mrozowski uses easily understandable and banal imagery – citrus tree flowers, oranges, blueberries and other fruits and foliage – as a starting point for the perceptual play in his works. Precise and boldly painted canvases of lush colours depicting delicate botanic detailing when viewed collectively reveal a complex visual language that goes beyond the narrative of an individual work. Seriality and repetition found in nature is explored through the compositional strategies used in his paintings. Some paintings, such as Untitled (Pair) (2018), are composed as pendants – two paintings hanging side by side – and encourage a sense of double vision. The canvases are almost identical, albeit with parts of each picture omitted and blocked out by flat fields of painted teal. Here Mrozowski invites the viewer, in a game of spot the difference, to reconstruct the image freely and to reveal that in fact the right- and left-hand erasures are complements of each other. This subtle play on image making unveils the hidden complexities of these paintings and subverts our expectations of still life painting.
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The natural imagery depicted acts as a counterpart to the types of artificial interventions he makes as a painter. Mrozowski applies the language of digital tools (cutting and pasting, cropping, layering etc.) to the handmade analogue process of painting. In Untitled (Orange) (2018) oranges without stems float freely in a leafy field, their edited geometric shapes confusing the relationship between forms. A second series of smaller paintings depict colourful puzzles that are in fact based upon photographs of folded cloth. Once again, the image is broken down into simple geometric forms. Segments of canvas are pieced together like a jigsaw giving these works both a sculptural and illusionistic quality as well as a strong sense of playfulness. In his hands, ordinary, generic imagery becomes mysterious and complicated through a series of manufactured interventions.
Ryan Mrozowski was born in 1981 in Pennsylvania and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Mrozowski’s work has been shown internationally and has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including shadow nor prey, Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin, Germany (2018); Ryan Mrozowski, Hannah Hoffman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2017); Numb Tongue, Arcade Gallery, London, UK (2016); Open, Other, End, On Stellar Rays, New York, NY (2015); Flotsam, The Gardens, curated by Art in General, Vilnius, Lithuania (2014); A mouth that might sing, Pierogi, Brooklyn, New York, NY (2012). Recent group shows include: Dead Eden, Lyles & King, New York, NY (2018); Camerado, this is no book, curated by Jenni Crain, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY (2017); I Can Hear You Singing in the Wire, Arcade Gallery, London, UK (2016); Background/Foreground, Galerie Nordenhake, Stockholm, Sweden (2016); Ordering Nature, Marianne Boesky, New York, NY (2015); Tiger, Tiger, Salon 94, New York, NY (2015); The View from the Window, Chapter NY, New York, NY (2014); In Search Of…, TSA, Brooklyn, NY (2013); Nearly Neutral, Sarah Lawrence College, Yonkers, NY (2013); About Face, ACME Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2012); LIFT #20, The Kitchen, New York, NY (2011).Ryan Mrozowski, Viewing room, Courtesy the artist and Simon Lee Gallery London