Ryan McGinness has built...
an art career at the intersection of semiotics and high art. Raised on the surf and skate culture of Virginia Beach and now a fixture in Manhattan's art world, his work uses the language of signage and corporate logos to communicate more personal messages. His latest series, Women: The Blacklight Paintings, uses this same approach for another type of high-profile image in our visual landscape: the female form.
Like the other works in Ryan's Women series, his mural for Wynwood Walls, entitled 33 Women, uses a palette of red, orange, green and yellow Day-Glo paint on a black background. In these works, he offers his own distinct version of the female nude, a constant throughout art history. While some might find that the abstract nature of these images mutes their sensuality, the artist disagrees. "These drawings are my version of what is sexy," he says of the figure drawings on which he based this series of paintings. Just as Ryan subverted the corporate logo to create his own symbols in previous work, his abstract women desexualize the female form, and in doing so celebrate their beauty from a purely aesthetic point of view.
"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." While his curves and colors give us an abstract version that celebrates the wide variety of shapes and sizes that make women beautiful, Ryan's his passion lies solely in the art. He explains, "I am more attracted to these drawings than I am to the women who make them possible." Regardless of personal preference, no one can deny that the artist's illuminated ladies are a brilliant addition to the Wynwood Walls.