Ryan Jones: Fragments
April 16 – May 7, 2022
Caldwell Snyder Gallery
341 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA
Caldwell Snyder Gallery is pleased to present Fragments, a solo exhibition of recent paintings by Bay Area-based artist Ryan Jones, on view from April 16 – May 7, 2022. Through a fragmentation and reconceptualization of vintage ephemera from American popular culture, Jones’ latest compositions refract our modernity through lenses of the past.
Evidenced in the artist’s storytelling methods is his early training in the Matte Painting
Department at Industrial Light and Magic—George Lucas’s motion picture visual effects company—where a young Jones was tasked with painting lifelike backdrops for film sets. Cinematic references abound in Jones’s luminous compositions, captivating audiences on albeit a smaller screen. Through his trademark use of a divided canvas, the artist renders a series of scenes into what he describes as an “accumulation of experiences,” saving space for the viewer to imagine each work’s ultimate narrative.
The evocation of emotion through commercial imagery forms the essence of Jones’s
work, employing strategies of Pop Art in an inquiry into materialism and connoisseurship. Classic cars, watches, and other coveted items make frequent appearances within the artist’s paintings, with the artist’s deft hand capturing the immaterial auras of consumer desires.
Appropriating visuals from films and advertisements both old and new, the artist parses the imagined lifestyles associated with these luxuries, lending appreciation as well as wonderment to these artifacts’ seemingly timeless appeal. Equally seductive and mysterious, Jones’s paintings explore an evolution of American cultural taste, noting both the staying power of certain symbols of affluence as well as their evolution in meaning.
In revisiting imagery from previous decades, ranging from cars no longer manufactured to film stills from the Golden Age of Hollywood, Jones’s juxtapositions prompt a reimagination of the figures and iconography cast within them. Rather than foregrounding nostalgia, the artist’s illustrious tableaus extend a paramount inquiry into the genealogies of contemporary media, offering a much needed pause amidst the rapid speed of content creation and circulation within today’s digital landscapes. On display in Jones’s paintings are not only the objects of materialism, but the use of film and advertising to shape commercial wants.
By renegotiating our relationships to visuals of the past, Jones asks viewers to reflect upon how images are read and consumed today, suggesting the valuable lessons to be gleaned from that which informs our present.
©2022 Ryan Jones, Caldwell Snyder Gallery
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