“Set Free”

Art First Gallery – October 2018


Virginia artist Robyn Ryan celebrates life through art; the making of it, the appreciation of it, and the sharing of it. She feels expressing one’s perception of and reaction to the world we live in and the creatures we share it with is a worthwhile pursuit through her art.  

Known for her animal and nature related subject matter, Robyn’s work has evolved from realistic water media (watercolor and acrylic) paintings and drawings to more adventurous exploration of techniques, methods, and mediums to convey her intentions and ideas including mixed media and sculpture.

“Set Free” is a collection of Robyn’s most recent wildlife artwork using the mechanisms of composition and arrangement, physical presentation, and the wildlife subjects’ characteristics as metaphorical tools for expressing the process of learning to live in freedom.  

Freedom has many connotations for each of us and for Robyn the concept of freedom has gained relevance in many areas.  This ranges from nearing retirement eligibility in her civil service career with the Navy with the related life decisions and opportunities, to significant spiritual growth and its impacts on all aspects of living, as well as the health recovery journeys for people dear to her.  

So how does this “freedom metaphor” idea work?  Here is an example:  The original concept for this series of “multiples” (multiple paintings presented as a single “piece” of artwork) was for a series of diptych (2 part) and triptych (3 part) pieces with component panels hung independently.  However, that concept constrained the compositional relationships to vertical and horizontal “grid” arrangements of the paintings.  When Robyn experimented with overlapping and tilted arrangements of the related paintings it revealed yet another dimension of freedom, in this case freedom from the linear grid… this grid is a metaphor for our desire to control, order, and plan our lives but how in reality it rarely works within our desired parameters; if we can release that desire to be in control, to have perfect knowledge, to always have our way, we can live free from the angst and discontent so prevalent in our society today.

This “Set Free” body of work reflects the most deeply personal expression of an artistic intent yet in Robyn’s artistic journey.  Robyn has identified and seeks to express a freedom related idea or principle with each piece.  She hopes you as the viewer enjoy the artwork, the idea, and are drawn into pondering your own freedom journey.  

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