Brigid Ryan in her bangalow studio
Brigid Ryan in her bangalow studio

Award winning body of work

For artist Brigid Ryan, her studio in the old tool shed tucked under three giant camphor trees on the family property near Bangalow will do just fine.

"This was once a pineapple farm and I found the old tin signs laid under the tar paper floor when I cleaned it out," Ms Ryan said.

"At one stage I thought I should do it up and get some nice French doors but it's nice to just open up the old roller door and let the light in and breeze blow through.

It's there that she produces the beautifully twisted paintings of the human form painted in oil on raw linen.

Early in September 2012, one of her works won her the Peoples Choice at the Wilson Visual Art Award.

"I have a really keen awareness and appreciation of other artists work so I really appreciate an award like that," she said.

"It gave me the sense that perhaps I was on the right track, it was very affirming."

The female form dominates Ms Ryan's work and she often uses her own face and body as subject matter.

The figures in her paintings are often truncated and the forms interrupted, transformed or distorted.

Shapes are segmented, arms transform into legs and a beautifully rendered shoulder can suddenly morph into a pair of feet.

"I don't like things to be too pretty, I like that my work can be seen as a little bit grotesque," she said.

"I have always been fascinated by the figure's ability to speak to me and audiences generally.

"We are all really familiar with our bodies so of course the form is powerful and central in the narrative of the human condition.

Ms Ryan is also a visual arts teacher at one of the region's largest high schools.

"It's so lovely to be in a career that is all about art and be surrounded by young people who have lots of energy and new ideas," she said.

Earlier this year she took a group of students to work at a remote Aboriginal Community in Central Australia.

For her and the students the trip was a very powerful experience.

"I originally come from country Victoria so I know barren landscapes, but this was something else.

"I was so moved by the landscape and the people's absolute connection to the spirit of the place.

"It has made me see Australian landscape paintings in a different light both from indigenous and non indigenous painters.

"My new series of work is still figurative but is looking more at the figure in the landscape."

For more of Brigid Ryan's work go to: antheapolsonart.com.au



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