By Ryan Smoluk
A lot has happened since we last connected, some good some not so good.
Anyhow it’s the beginning of another beautiful summer here in Winnipeg, Canada.
I am happy and excited to share with you my latest good news.
In June, I had my art on exhibit in one of Canada’s most respected and awesome art galleries, The Mayberry Fine Art Gallery.
My show is called Alchemy. This show is a little different not just because my work is new and cutting edge but the gallery paired me with a poet and writer Kristian Enright. His gift is his poetry and he wrote about my artwork in a very eloquent way.
Alchemy’s opening night was June 7th. It was a huge success; the food and wine were amazing. The show ran through June.
This piece is a large monochromatic painting on canvas. I created this piece in 2017. I used acrylic paint with gel mediums building up layer upon layer of paint. I carved in really cool shapes giving it a three-dimensional affect. I hand carved several tiny objects and carefully placed them along the top edge to evoke a cityscape. It’s a very complex and intense piece. I found it both physically and mentally challenging. I lost a lot of sleep and I know I came close to going over the edge with this one.
When it was finished I felt a real sense of accomplishment. It was all worth it and I am very proud of this piece.
GREY ZONE SERIES
When I pulled myself together I went on to create a new body of work inspired by the Grey Zone piece. Actually I made 6 more pieces all very different yet similar in style and monochromatic. I call this work my Grey Zone series. I enjoyed making these pieces; they were all in my show Alchemy.
BIG NOTHING (FRENEMY)
This is a large 6 ft x 5 ft mixed media 3-dimensional sculpture. It’s bursting with vibrant colour, it is pop art culture surrealism. The grotesque nature of the image is a terrifying 1950’s nuclear family, reminiscent of the narcissistic state of society that seems to be asleep to such concerns as climate change and societies obsession with the internet and social media.
There is a button on each character that activates the character to speak when pressed. At the same time their mouths are electronically wired to move in sync with the voice. My friend Bill Smart who is a teacher at MITT spent many hours with me working on the electronic components.
TWO MONTHS EARLIER
I was feeling low and worried sick because my studio lease was coming to an end in 2 weeks. I love my studio space. I feel that I have produced some of my best work there. I thought, how am I going to move all this stuff out and where am I going to move to? My Mom said, “don’t worry so much, one door closes and another door opens.” She told me just to stay focused and it will all come together. She was right!
MANITOBA ARTS COUNCIL GRANT AWARD
I am proud to tell you that one week later I received this awesome grant award. Thanks to my mentor Diana Thorneycroft and Chris Simonite who worked so hard on my grant application. This grant will pay for my studio for a whole year and give me enough art supplies to start on my next body of work for my next show. How cool is that? I’ll keep you posted!
MAYBERRY FINE ART GALLERY
I was working hard in my studio on my new projects when I got some welcome visitors; they were the directors from the Mayberry Fine Art Gallery. I felt a little nervous at first, as an artist you are never sure if people are going to like you or your work. They were really nice and I liked them right off.
They came in and looked around, I could see they were pleasantly surprised, they really liked my work. They told me that they have travelled around the world buying art for their gallery and that my art is very different and interesting. They asked me there and then, “Ryan, would you like to have a show in our gallery?”
I paused for a second and answered ABSOLUTELY! I quietly said, “Thank you God!!!”
Ryan Smoluk is a Winnipeg-based artist who has received substantial recognition for his work. In 2012 the United Nations selected one of Ryan’s paintings, which is reproduced on a postage stamp and is available for sale worldwide.