From December 11 to 20, 2014, L&L ARTS and Isis Phoenix Arts present TRIBAL POP the first solo exhibition of Ryan Ostrowski at 168 Bowery, NYC.
Ryan Ostrowski's TRIBAL POP features canvases & works on paper painted between 2012 and 2014, characterized by the artist's emblematic statement on contemporary culture blending an uncanny Surrealist sensibility with popular iconography and references to tribal art.
Ostrowski has been a filmmaker since his teens, and embraces painting as a link to an interest in facial expression, and to parallel, a paradoxical fascination with masks, which conceal facial expression. These outlets converge in the contemporary cult of celebrity. Celebrities present a mask to the world which is a simplified alter ego; a selectively condensed and commercially valuable individuality.
Ryan Ostrowski: TRIBAL POP unfolds the artist's line of inquiry into societal malfunction, and questioning the overwhelming hyper-tech, social media-obsessed and sensationalist attitudes of the Now. Ostrowski writes, "What does it all mean? These little pieces that fit together so perfectly. I look no further than the mask. It's heavy on my heart and mind because I wear one. I have from an early age, and he does, and she does and you do too."
British Art Historian Edward Lucie-Smith has written:
"Ostrowski's 'TRIBAL POP' with keen intelligence and a well-developed sense of humor, is presenting us with a modern harlequinade. In the same way his forbear G.D. Tiepolo achieved with his wonderful series of drawings illustrating the life and adventures of Punchinello (who, of course, wears a grotesque mask). Ostrowski's examination of Early Modernism, his ironic relationship with '60s Pop (which took itself much more seriously than he does) and his experience with moving images, equip him to present the culture of modern celebrity as a comic-ironic spectacle. Into this he is even able to introduce major images from the past, because these too have in a certain sense become 'celebs'. It's the only way we can deal with them, in terms of the culture we now possess."
Ostrowski conceived of his first body of work while travelling through North America, before returning to New York City to explore symbolism, visual language, and the role of the "mask" in western culture. The works on view are exemplary of the complex fluid patterns, wide color palette and the intersection between this device and the subject, making Ostrowski's work dynamic and arresting.
Ryan Ostrowski was born in Vermont (USA) in 1986. A developed interest in filmmaking drew Ostrowski to the arts at a young age. Through his teens he wrote and produced a great number of short films, most of which depict people in vulnerable situations, oppressed by a menacing masked character. A link to an interest in facial expression can be traced to these early films, concurrent to an interest in the horror genre of American cinema and the films of Stanley Kubrick. The mask would continue to make its way into his matured college films and later materialize once again as a metaphor in his paintings. Ostrowski studied film production and cinematography at Keene State College in New Hampshire, graduating in 2008. During these years, Ostrowski continued to examine storytelling through the lens, further magnifying people and expanding on characters. The focus of his late academic work is lent to video portraits and identity studies. As narrative was being stripped of the films, Ostrowski came to appreciate images by themselves, and the focus soon shifted from moving pictures to still pictures. His aesthetic retains much of his cine sensibility, as a filmic emphasis on the power of nonverbal communication is captured in many works. Consequently, his paradoxical fascination with the mask and the emphasis of facial expression converge on the platform of celebrity culture. Ostrowski shares with many other self-taught artists an individualized style. He is known for portraiture that is heavily fragmented with symbols and motifs, which revert to Early Modernist Primitivism, enfolding both tribal and pop. His work synthesizes the Warholian idiom of the 60's, the markings of Modernism and the fame monster culture that defines our own zeitgeist. Ostrowski lives and works in New York.
For further information please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
December 11, 6 to 9pm: Press and Media preview
December 12, 5 to 9pm: Opening reception
December 12 to December 19: 10am to 6pm
168 Bowery (NOLITA, corner of Bowery & Kenmare)
New York, NY 10012
T: 212 966 2842