Ryan Callanan ‘Life’s a Gamble’ Exhibition Review

12 August 2015

Last Friday saw the highly anticipated opening of our latest exhibition ‘Life’s a Gamble’ from gallery favourite Ryan Callanan aka RYCA. Ryan has been blowing up stateside this year with two storming exhibitions, picking up an award and new followers along the way. This show presents the first opportunity to see his fresh body of work on home soil and it certainly does not disappoint!

One of the stand out pieces in the show has to be the dazzling, new golden Biggie Smalls Buddha. Sitting Zen-like on a stack of cash, with mic in hand and sporting twin medallions, Buddha Smalls, also available in smaller gold or silver editions, is a must for any diehard Notorious BIG fans out there. Biggie also features as the sun on the limited edition print ‘Big in Japan’. In the words of the rap god himself, “It’s all good baby baby…”

The rap theme carries on through much of the work on show, with Ryan being a self-confessed Hip-Hop head. One that pays fitting homage to our hometown by the sea is the ornately framed, glass painted piece ‘Comin’ Straight Outta Brighton’. A tongue in cheek reference to the legendary group NWA’s hit album ‘Straight Outta Compton’. Keep an eye out for some other rap rhymes featuring in his lyrical pieces, including bars from Ryan’s own number 1 rapper Kendrick Lamar in the painted glasswork ‘Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe’.

The classic rave smiley face is one of Ryan’s signature motifs, regularly cropping up in his art to spread some acid house inspired happiness. His personal favourite piece from the show is his acid emoji “blowing a kiss”, which has pride of place in the gallery, spreading the love to everyone who visits the show. We also adore his small Black CD Power Pill, a more subtle way to inject some smiley joy.

As with all shows by Ryan there has to be a reference to his favourite film franchise Star Wars somewhere in the mix. Hanging from the ceiling of our gallery are two of his crucified storm troopers. Alongside that the rebel alliance symbol has crept into another one of Ryan’s painted glass pieces alongside the text ‘Born This Way’.

‘Life’s a Gamble’ runs until 6 September and is definitely a body of work to be enjoyed in the flesh, up close and personal. We’d like to extend a big thank you to everyone who attended the private view last week and contributed to the buzzing atmosphere in the gallery. Also a huge well done is due to Ryan, an artist whose practice continues to evolve, enthral and uplift! If you haven’t seen it yet, roll the dice and head on down as ‘Life’s a Gamble’ after all…