(Ryan McGinness’ Throne)
Ryan McGinness is known for his badass usage of graphics, shapes, and iconography in order to tell a visual narrative of sorts. Ryan constantly steps up his game with every project he births. This Art Basel 2010, Ryan created an incredible series of women that breathe into a perfect ballet of computer figures. We stopped to ask him a few questions about the extravaganza that just took place at Art Basel, an event co-hosted by The Standard Hotel at Club Madonna, a strip joint on the unassuming Washington Drive, just a few blocks away from the gaudy Ocean Drive strip. Ryan prefers to keep it raw and real. What better spot to display a striking visual of fluorescent black light artwork intertwined with some naked honeys?
(Ryan’s work on outside Mural during Art Basel 2010)
Is this the first time you work with Flourescent Black Light paintings?
No, in 2008 I created an exhibition at the Cincinnati Art Museum titled Aesthetic Comfort in which fluorescent pigments and fluorescent vinyl was used with the Black Hole paintings in a blacklight environment. Also, in 2009, I created a blacklight installation as part of my exhibition at Deitch Projects.
(Ryan McGinness Installation, Deitch Project, 2009)
Did you have a Blacklight poster in your bedroom growing up as a kid? If so, describe?
My sister had this poster in her room:
(Early Childhood Inspiration)
Can you tell us how the concept of this installation eventually merged into a bonafide event at a real strip club? Also, the decision to grace The Standard bars with these iconic images? Why utilize these particular unorthodox mediums?
My figure drawing process starts with looking at naked women. Here is a video that shows an example of that drawing process. A strip club is a place where people go to look at naked women. That is the connection.
When I create an exhibition, I like to create an environment whereby I can control the context for the exhibition of my work. The napkins, drink coasters, and matchbooks are a way to expand the paintings into the same environment in which the paintings are viewed.
(Ryan McGinness 2010 Series Projected in Blacklight)
In essence, what is the meaning of this collection, and the role of a woman within this body of art?
This new body of work is a continuation of my established and disciplined image-making that strives to employ the aesthetic of the anonymously created universal sign symbol. Two parallel desires drive these new Women drawings: My desire to simplify and iconify the underlying visually logical geometries inherent in my figure drawings in order to better understand my subject matter; and my desire to embrace and capture the purely aesthetic experience of graceful curves and sensual forms inherent in my models.
These drawings are my version of what is sexy. Yes, the women are sexy, but moreover, the drawings are sexier—beautiful, stark, and perfectly composed according to my eye. I am more attracted to these drawings than I am to the women who make them possible.
The subjects for the Women body of work are friends, friends of friends, and new friends. In my figure-drawing stage, I am gathering data. As I develop those sketches by tracing and redrawing, I am analyzing that data. With my final drawings, I am making conclusions. These clearly articulated abstract forms are then perfected with digital drafting tools, stored as mathematical equations, and visualized as scale- and resolution-shifting vector files. These bits of information can be infinitely remixed and serve as the base ingredients for paintings, sculptures, prints, products, and videos. These images are not representations; rather, they are primary presentations having lost their reliance on their original referent. It is not the women who are objectified, rather the data.
With Women: The Blacklight Paintings, my use of fluorescent paint under the blacklight color spectrum is a strategy to force a singular time/space experience with the work. That is to say, the work must be experienced in person, and cannot be fully appreciated through reproductions via jpegs or printed catalogue pages.
The projects continue to self-create itself as you intend to continue sketching girls the night of the Club Madonna event? How long have you been working on it, and do you envision a closure date?
Yes, it does. I like drawing. I have been working on this new body of work for a year, and I will continue for the next 3 years.
How can somebody receive one of the few limited edition blacklight posters from this series?
The exhibition poster has been published by Iconoclast and will be available on the Iconoclast web site.
Mural, Throne, and Blacklight Event Photo by Chris Mosier