Artist: Ryan Mrozowski
Exhibition title: Numb Tongue
Venue: Arcade, London, UK
Date: October 6 – November 12, 2016
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Arcade, London
You go back to your room and collapse onto your too-narrow bed. You sleep, like a simpleton, with your eyes wide open. You count and you organize the cracks in the ceiling. The conjunction of shadows and stains, and the variations of adjustment and orientation of your gaze, produce effortlessly, slowly, dozens of nascent shapes, fragile coalitions that you are able to grasp only for a fleeting second, fixing them on a name: vine, virus, town, village, face, before they disintegrate and everything starts all over again: the sudden appearance of a gesture or movement, of an outline or the merest suggestion of an empty sign which you allow to develop, a chance meeting which grows into a firm acquaintance: an eye staring back at you, a man asleep, an eddy-pool, the gentle rocking of sail-boats, the tip of a tree, a branch shattered, preserved, recovered, and from which emerges with growing precision the beginnings of another face, hardly different from the last one, perhaps a little more grim or more attentive, a face in abeyance, in which you search in vain for the eyes, the neck, the forehead. But all that you are able to retain, or find, only to let slip again immediately, is the impression of an ambiguous smile, the shadow of a nostril, prolonged, perhaps, by the trace – ignominious or glorious, who can say? – of a scar.
— A Man Asleep, by Georges Perec
Ryan Mrozowski (Pennsylvania, 1981) is a painter working in acrylic on linen, oil stick and paint on paper, found book pages, and inlaid wood. Mrozowski observes his subject matter with a playful and satirical distance, isolating the elements of landscape, still life, or narrative situations. In doing so, he negates both the original intent and artificial creation of desire at the core of most constructed picture planes we encounter on a daily basis, as in the case of display objects and advertising.
Mrozowski often constructs paintings by means of duplicating, repeating, and inverting the most commonplace of imagery (oranges, polka dots, birds, flowers, grass) in endless variations. These items, broken into their constituent parts and stripped of specific or personal context, reveal the uncanny and absurd appearance of a world subject to excessive cataloguing and archiving. The use of grids and patterns—such as dots on fabric, or oranges in trees—create an illusion of order. However, this is a decoy; rather, Mrozowski’s characteristic mechanisms for dis-logic charm the viewer’s eye in an absurd and cyclical non-narrative.
Mrozowski received his MFA from the Pratt Institute in 2005, and his BFA from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2003. Recent and forthcoming solo exhibitions include Hannah Hoffman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2017); On Stellar Rays, New York, NY (2015); Art in General, Vilnius, Lithuania (2014); Pierogi, Brooklyn, NY (2012, 2010); and the Daniel Weinberg Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2008). Recent group exhibitions include Kate Werble Gallery, New York, NY (2016); Galerie Nordenhake, Stockholm, Sweden (2015); Salon 94, New York, NY (2015); Lucien Terras, New York, NY (2015); Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY (2015); Chapter NY, New York, NY (2014); Knowmoregames, Brooklyn, NY (2014); Ziehersmith, New York, NY (2014); and Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY (2013). Mrozowski lives and works in New York.
Ryan Mrozowski, Untitled (Dot), 2016
Inlaid plywood and stain, 30 x 22“ / 76.2 x 55.9 cm
Ryan Mrozowski, Untitled (Shifted flowers), 2016
Acrylic on linen, 50 x 40’’ / 127 x 101.6 cm
Ryan Mrozowski, Untitled, 2016
Acrylic on linen, wood frame, 17 x 13 3/4” / 43.2 x 34.9 cm
Ryan Mrozowski, Untitled (Pair), 2016
Acrylic on linen, 23 x 18” / 58.4 x 45.7 cm (each)
Ryan Mrozowski, Untitled (Floating leaves), 2016
Acrylic on linen, 30 x 23” / 76.2 x 58.4 cm
Ryan Mrozowski, Untitled (Stacked dog), 2016
Oil stick on paper, 22 x 30” / 55.9 x 76.2 cm