May 17, 2022
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Kathleen Ryan (Karma)
Bad Orange (Wedge), 2022
Magnesite, labradorite, prehnite, citrine, amazonite, aventurine, turquoise, sesame jasper, moss agate, aquamarine, chalcedony, quartz, serpentine, bone, shell, coral, glass, acrylic, steel pins on coated polystyrene, VW Beetle trunk
25.98” × 30.98” × 24.02” (66 cm × 78.7 cm × 61 cm)
With Bad Orange (Wedge), Kathleen Ryan brings together contrasting materials (a discarded section of a VW Beetle trunk and semi-precious gemstones) and creates a contemporary take on the still life and the vanitas by 17th c. Dutch Masters. Then, patrons showcased their wealth and worldliness through the presentation of precious objects like china, and precious metals, as well as delicacies that only the elite class could afford. Citrus fruit was one favored delicacy to show off at special gatherings. The vanitas was a particularly symbolic still life in which the patron could also display some humility, as it was meant to act as a reminder of the ephemeral nature of life and of death. Here Ryan presents us with her vanitas presentation of an oversized rotting wedge of orange. The work also brings to mind the omnipresent citrus trees of Ryan’s own natal home, Los Angeles, where they hover indiscriminately over sidewalks everywhere, available to all. Mundane and precious, grotesque and attractive, Bad Orange (Wedge) succeeds in its mission.