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Weightless Again, Kathleen Ryan’s solo show at Ghebaly Gallery lifts its title from a Handsome Family song about getting away, getting lost, and finding a momentary high in escapism. Scale, weight, and color make for a playful defiance of physics by way of heavy rigging and slick installation where surreality serves as a relief from formality.
Though Ryan’s work is scaled to the room, her sculptures feel delicate and fine-tuned. Parasol (2017) features lime green ceramic parrot-shapes perched atop the metal skeleton of a beach umbrella stripped of its fabric; the piece looks wistful and deserted, like a vacation that never ended. Suspension and scale make most of the magic in Between Two Bodies (2017), where three ceramic oranges are compressed between two blocks of granite. Each slab, with its mirrored, L-shaped protrusion, faces in an opposite direction, creating a classical sense of balance. There is no juice, only a looming sense of pressure.
In Pearls (2017), a string of hot pink bowling balls are draped over the gallery wall like a necklace tossed on a dresser after a night out. Names of former owners are inscribed on the surface of each ball, encapsulating an amorous absence between object and owner. This reads more like romance than camp. Where levity feels unachievable, Ryan’s perception of heft and lightness feels preternatural and witchy; levitation and balance somehow come easily. Like being on the road or falling in love, there’s a period of frivolity before banality sets in. Here at Ghebaly, Ryan has captured that liminality by building a world where the heavy feels weightless despite the crushing reality that argues otherwise.
Weightless Again runs from January 21–February 25, 2017 at Ghebaly Gallery (2245 E. Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90021)