Named after a David Bowie song, the title of Ryan Bock’s exhibition tells us a lot about the recent artwork he will show at the Ground Effect gallery from May 17th until June 2nd.
According to Bock, there are actually many reasons to be afraid of Americans. “Living in America today is like watching a “B” horror film. The script and characters are predictable, yet still manage to shock you. As with horror films you witness the action, but you’re removed from it – stripped of your power and forced into a voyeuristic position of inactivity. You become a fat man in a recliner, chewing popcorn and screaming obscenities at the big screen, while the other audience members in the theatre scramble to ‘shhh’ you.”
This perspective might explain why the theme of Bockhaus’ exhibition has taken on a satirical dimension. From the depiction of cultural symbols, to the spread of conformism, including nationalisms on all fronts and gun violence, they evoke a now universal culture’s clichés and the startling reality that they hardly manage to conceal. In his own historical approach, Bock questions an absurd political situation that is above all complicated, and made particularly obscure by the outbreak of “fake news”.
The artists seizes the opportunity to display his work in Paris rather than in the States, where he comes from, to pretend that these problems are not his own. Still, the presence of his work here irreducibly produces the opposite effect over the viewer : ‘what about us?’ they wonder, prompted by a contagious sense of self-derision. As in the lyrics of David Bowie’s song, we come out of the exhibition all the more frightening observation: “I’m afraid of Americans... I’m afraid of the world”...
From galleries to the streets, the artwork of young American painter Ryan Bock aims to interrogate the viewer. Behind the unstructured lines and the geometrical shapes you can often find the thread of a history, which recalls his past as an animation and experimental film student.
Ryan Bock had his first American solo exhibition “Shamanistic Tendencies” in 2012 at ApostropheNYC gallery. Since, he has shown in numerous group exhibitions – including the Juxtapoz ClubHouse during Art Basel Miami. He has also gained recognition via his three part traveling solo exhibition entitled “Bocktropolis” spanning 2017-18 which appeared at Mana Contemporary, Super Chief Gallery and Garden Studio. He now takes possession of the Ground Effect gallery from May 17th until June 2nd.
As the optical illusions reveal the duplicity of our society, Bockhaus creates emerging silhouettes which are sometimes worrying, sometimes enigmatic, and which deconstruct our preconceptions. The contrast of the black and white relates to the obsession of the relationship between the past and the present time. As in History, the patterns in his paintings repeat themselves and enable a new way of looking at things, diffracted between light and shadow.
Thus located on the edge of reality and fiction, the artist’s work is imbued with mythologies. Far from suggesting binary answers to the viewer, his paintings show the persistence of questions resulting from a demanding and watchful observation of the world...