In Ryan M. Reynolds’ oil painting “(in)habited,” we are outside looking inside at a woman
who is looking outside at a landscape through the top opening of a Dutch door.
|Ryan M. Reynolds "Entrance" is part of his liminal works at b. sakata garo |
It’s part of a series that Reynolds states “is informed by the concept of liminality,
which is defined as occupying a position at, or on both sides, of a boundary or threshold.”
Here there are multiple thresholds, a complex play between outdoors and indoors as we
observe the scene through the foliage of a riotous fruit-laden vine or tree that speaks
of fertility. The plant forms a screen that offers the woman some privacy while also creating a sense of mystery.
The woman is as still as a woman in a Vermeer, and as pensive, as she stands by the
interior door in a liminal state where she seems to be waiting for someone or something.
In “Entrance,” she stands between two doors, a turquoise double door and a vibrant green door.
It’s a rich, painterly image, still except for a passage in which her hands, on the open upper
door sill, are offset and doubled so that they seem to move, indicating the passage of time.
In “Expecting,” she stands at a window, wearing a green blouse, in a room exploding with indoor
plants. A blue object, perhaps a book or a laptop, lies on the table in front of her. Again she seems
to be waiting for something, perhaps, as the title suggests, a new life growing inside her.
Slightly different in feeling are a pair of paintings in which the woman is clothed and then begins
to disrobe, again suggesting the passage of time. These are sensual images with striking details,
a tall white pitcher on what seems to be the edge of a bathtub and a beautifully painted doorknob
on a partially opened door.
All give the sense of a freighted situation as the woman exists in a resonant space, perhaps
on the threshold of motherhood or some other life-changing event.
Reynolds turns his attention to the urban landscape in “5 Bucks,” a large oil painting in
which we look through the window of a coin laundry on figures washing and drying clothes.
The overhead fluorescent fixtures cast a cold light on the scene in which a man at a washing machine
is caught in two poses as if in a time-elapse film. This is a major work, verging on photorealism save
for the man’s implied motion.
In addition to the figure paintings, including a group of straightforward, deftly handled
watercolor studies for the oils of the mysterious woman, Reynolds offers several landscape subjects.
“North Atlantic” is a series of vigorous watercolors that capture the changing weather and light
of a strip of Atlantic coast in Western Ireland, where Reynolds had a residency at the Ballinglen
Art Center in County Mayo. In other works from the time of the residency, he focuses on seaweed
gatherers and fishermen using a more delicate touch. These gemlike watercolors are winning images.
Time, space and a sense of place inform works from an intriguing series of oil paintings on panel
titled “Continuum.” “Tidelands” and “4 Mile Beach” are a pair of long horizontal landscapes that
are broken up geometrically with disjunctive passages that suggest different seasons and different times of day.
In these works he posits a fresh approach to landscape in which he takes a more intellectual
and conceptual stance. They are interesting works, and very well done but, for me, less compelling
than his paintings of the woman.
Information: 916-447-4276; www.bsakatagaro.com
Ryan M. Reynolds
WHERE: b. sakata garo, 923 20th St.
WHEN: Noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays,through January 30
INFORMATION: (916) 447-4276