Graduated from Royal College of Art
Selected by Maxa Zoller
Peace Makers, 2007
Where is this place that I have tripped, stumbled and fallen face down in?
Some of the inhabitants appeared unfamiliar and possibly a little awkward; these have then introduced me to a whole host of splendid characters. The tools I have used to document my experiences I have found to have a sort of a duality: paint has become the pencil and the pencil has taken on the attributes of paint. So somehow I have made it my job to document all this, by way of a series of self-contradictions in the hope that I can trace a sense of where it is I am going by mapping where I've been.
Ryan Mosley's large-scale paintings are at once innocent and disturbing, seductive and repulsive. The three figures in 'Peace Makers' (2007) are strangely familiar. The trio recalls the scene from The Wizard of Oz (1939) in which Dorothy, the rusty tin man and the goofy lion scoop down the yellow brick road. Generous brush strokes delineate the abstract contours of the figures, which appear almost ghost-like on the white thin washes reminiscent of Luc Tymans. Mosley's palette is pale, ranging from different shades of white to olive green, washed-out blue and muddy yellow. While the bodies of the figures are clearly outlined, their faces are distorted. The figure in the middle (Dorothy?) shows traces of a long nose, the rest of her head is a swirl of gestural black lines. Edvard Munch's traumatised subjects and James Ensor's masks spring to mind. Mosley not only strikes the difficult balance between referencing and copying but he also manages to convey uncomfortable feelings without falling into a cliche. In 'The Loving Couple' (2007) a buffoon is about to grab hold of a woman's waist and shoulder. In anticipation of the joy to come, he jumps and clicks his heels in the air while the woman already lifts her skirt revealing her suspenders. Despite the happy tone of the painting the faces are grotesque, gorilla-like and ugly. Skilfully, Mosley creates a tension between the choice of subject matter and the uncanny surrealism of the disfigured faces. The large painting 'Unknown Performer' (2007) shows a strange Alice in Wonderland-world, where a girl on a mushroom is surrounded by what seems to be a floating skull, a lion's head and Abraham Lincoln's profile. Caught in the impenetrable layer of white paint Mosley's subjects remain distant and uncanny, only suggesting what lies behind the mask.
(Maxa Zoller, 2007)
Qualifications and training
- 2007 MA Painting, Royal College of Art, London
- 2003 BA Hons 1st Class, University Of Huddersfield