Pressure Paintings

26 October 2014

The reasons that the gallery is 'on fire' right now are the amazing exhibitions that we have both upstairs and downstairs. More of the upstairs one with Grande Dame (including fab pics of her amazing PV) later, but for now we would like to concentrate on 8Forever by Ryan Callanan and more specifically, his Pressure Paintings.....

So, in his own words, Ryan explains this element of his work;


Pressure painting is a self-termed form of image making that I have developed over the past year. The work I have been making to date, in the form of sculpture and printmaking, often deals with the methodologies of nostalgia, in particular how a person relates to certain images and forms that were once culturally ubiquitous and how these memories are subjugated by contemporary society. Pressure painting continues my investigations into the validity of this by-gone social collateral.


Unlike my previous work, with Pressure Painting I am dealing directly with cultural artefacts - in this case, plastic toys from Star Wars, toy soldiers and Lego bricks. As such these embody the questions my previous work have been asking in the purest form possible.


Using specialist machinery, the toys are subjected to a two-part process, where the figures are subjected to both extreme pressure and heat. This process not only makes a 3D object into something 2D, but it reanimates the original paint used to define the features on the toy. This paint then ‘bleeds’ forming an image that is something closer to a child’s painting, a crude proclamation of form, which to the knowing eye still connotes these collectible toys. Its an experiment to move beyond distinct forms and words to see if something as oblique as a colour palette or vague form still can summon the similar recognition and emotional connection as the original toys. It’s also a blithe critique on contemporary cult of collecting, memories of childhood and the enduring idealism that has sealed our recent past in aspic: untouchable, better, cleaner, wiser.