Monday, November 3, 2014

In Conversation: Amanda Ryan

RYAN, Amanda, Geometric Composition No 3 (2014), fabric, thread, wadding, eyelets and stand offs on board, 145cm x 116cm, Copyright courtesy of the artist. 

Amanda Ryan (b.1985) holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons. Class 1) and Master of Fine Arts, undertaken at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales. During her time as a student, Amanda was the recipient of the Australian Post Graduate Award 2008 - 2010 and was placed on the prestigious Dean's List, achieving a high distinction during her undergraduate honours year. From 2003 Amanda has participated a number of group exhibitions that notably include the inaugural Sass and Bide Art Prize Finalist Exhibition in 2005, COFA Space and 'Compositions' in 2008, held at King Street Gallery, Darlinghurst. Amanda's solo graduate exhibition 'Unearthed', 2010 demonstrated the diversity of this young artist and showcased her usage of fabrics, textiles, assemblage and installation that is now synonymous with her work. Over the past three years, Amanda has created and refined her unique visual language of geometric textile abstraction, which she uses to explore the fine line between art, craft and design.


Can you tell our readers a little about your background? Where you come from, how long you’ve been making art, etc?
I grew up in Dundas, a North-Western suburb of Sydney. I attended the College of Fine Arts from 2004 until 2010 where I completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts and later a Master of Fine Arts (by research) majoring in painting and drawing. Art, specifically painting and assemblage, has been a part of my life since childhood. I was forever fossicking around council clean ups discovering and collecting old pieces of furniture, off cuts and wooden panels that I would use in my paintings and assemblages.

Direction Now is, in many ways, a celebration of Abstraction in Art. In what ways do you see your work using abstraction?
I see my work as an enquiry into geometric abstraction. I explore geometric abstraction through layering, folding and arranging fabrics in a range of colours and textures, to create compositions and stand alone forms evolving from the act of play. I am interested in the interaction between colours, shapes and textures and what variations and combinations I can discover.

RYAN, Amanda, Multi Colour Folded Form No. 2 (2014), fabric, thread, wadding, eyelets and stand offs on board, dimensions variable, Copyright courtesy of the artist. 

What drew you to using abstraction?
The fact that an image or an artwork could evoke a sensation or subject without depicting it. I find abstract art engaging as it allows the viewer to use their imagination and to bring their own experiences and emotions to the artwork. I first found this in the painterly works of John Firth-Smith and Richard Diebenkorn of whom I admire greatly.

Where do you see yourself positioned within the history of Abstraction?
I see my practice as sharing the same ethos that surrounded the artists that exhibited in the 1968 exhibition, 'The Field', held at the National Gallery of Victoria. I see myself as continuing this enquiry into non figurative art forms and following in the footsteps of the early pioneers of geometric abstraction such as Michael Johnson, Sydney Ball and Tony McGillick.

Can you tell us what your motivations are for choosing the particular materials you work with in your artistic practice?
Materials and found objects have played an important role in my practice. I have always been interested in the prescribed meaning of an object through its form and function. In the past I would deconstruct these found objects and reassemble them into new forms. Over the past couple of years my focus has shifted from using found objects, to now employing a variety of fabrics and textiles in the construction of my works. I am still very much interested in material and meaning, however I now explore this through the use of new and recycled textiles. I choose materials that have a certain meaning or purpose, but I use them in a way that they are not intended to be used. There is a certain play on function and dysfunction in my work.

RYAN, AmandaMulti Colour Folded Form No. 7 (2014), fabric, thread, wadding, eyelets and stand offs on board, dimensions variable, Copyright courtesy of the artist. 

What is your favourite artwork in Direction Now and why (and it can’t be your own work)?
I actually have three favourite artworks in Direction Now. Miles Hall's use of colour in 'Related Parts', 2013 and 'Things only revealed in the night' , 2013 is very confident. He has a sophisticated understanding of colour and shape which I am drawn to. I am also drawn to the composition and layering of shapes and forms in Michael Cusak's work 'Fincher', 2012.

What’s next for you? Do you have any big projects coming up?
Apart from the daily thinking and making of art, my work will be featured in an upcoming group exhibition held at the Conny Dietzschold Gallery, Sydney. Dates and details are to be released shortly. Keep informed by viewing

If our readers want to find out more information about your work, where can they go?
Please view:
Like to keep informed on upcoming projects:

RYAN, AmandaYellow Folded Form No. 2 (2014), fabric, thread, wadding, eyelets and stand offs on board, dimensions variable, Copyright courtesy of the artist.

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