Ryan McLaughlin at Laura Bartlett Gallery


Artist: Ryan McLaughlin

Exhibition title: TraffiQ

Venue: Laura Bartlett Gallery, London, UK

Date: September 17 – November 8, 2015

Photography: images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Laura Bartlett Gallery, London

Laura Bartlett Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by American painter Ryan McLaughlin. This will be the artist’s first show with the gallery.

Hung in the gallery are 11 paintings, at once familiar, their scale mirroring the same ISO 216 paper sizes used globally to shape and tally visual information. They are dimensions that span realms public and private, urban and rural, mobile and static. Here, McLaughlin adopts them as a default for his linen panels and as a foil to a particular, even unusual, use of paint. His engaging cast of techniques and studied color reveal an archaeology of mark-making in expanses where once something may have previously existed, but in McLaughlin’s workings, something new, or the potential of something new is unearthed. Imagery is dually asserted and obscured.

For example, in Air Poule, 2015 a hybridized version of the Air France logo, originally a winged horse with the tail of a fish, the horse has been replaced with the top half of a hen. More an animal of flight than a horse and perhaps better representative of an airline, yet due to its size and weight defunct to flying only a few meters off the ground.

Similarly, in Akbar al Baker, 2015, McLaughlin abbreviates and distorts the logo of Qatar Airways to ‘QA’, yet retains a colour scheme similar to the airline’s standard livery. The work is named after the formidable CEO of Qatar Airways, a leader in the new wave of refined, international travel currently being pioneered by Gulf carriers. In Etihad, 2015, McLaughlin has reversed the ‘E’ turning it into a crudely rendered number ‘3’ and painting it green. Moving away from aviation, but evidencing transit and migration in a different sense, in Demeter, 2015 McLaughlin takes the original logo of the German organic food standards authorising agency Demeter International, founded in 1928, and simply joins each letter in a painterly cursive typeface.

There is also an undercurrent of the absurd and incongruous displayed within these works. The painting Basler, 2015, a treatment of the well-known German fashion brand targeted at the mature woman, plays with the balance of the presentation. Additionally, the two Bullybong paintings, both 2015, depict bongs with Bully, the bull mascot from the now-defunct TV series Bullseye, as their base.

It is in the fusion of these approaches that McLaughlin embraces the precariousness of the image.


Ryan McLaughlin,  Demeter, 2015



Ryan McLaughlin,  Metro, 2015



Ryan McLaughlin,  Etihad, 2015


Ryan McLaughlin,  Air Poule, 2015



Ryan McLaughlin,  Basler, 2015


Ryan McLaughlin,  Untitled, 2015



Ryan McLaughlin,  Untitled, 2015


Ryan McLaughlin,  Akbar al Baker, 2015

RM_TraffiQ_Akbar al Baker_001_Press


Ryan McLaughlin, Capa, 2015


Ryan McLaughlin, Lottt, 2015


Ryan McLaughlin, Metro, 2015



Ryan McLaughlin, Bullybong, 2015


Ryan McLaughlin, Bullybong, 2015