We’re very pleased to bring you a brand new art installation. Come join us for the gallery opening of Ryan Wood’s Merchants of Izmir on Wednesday February 17th from 8pm - 11pm. Ryan’s work will be featured on the walls of Fringe Portland now through March.
An Interview with Ryan Wood
Tell us a little about yourself, Ryan.
Well, I’m 34 years old and I’m originally from Toronto. When I’m not out shooting or making art
I enjoy writing, playing guitar, traveling, being outdoors, and pretty much doing anything active like hiking, running, or swimming.
Can you tell me about how you first came to visual art?
I’ve been making visual art for as long as I can remember. Both of my parents were photographers and I definitely learned from them. I was shooting on my first 35mm film camera at the age of 10, and by 11 I was shooting VHS video with our camcorder.
In high school I studied theatre, photography and the arts, after which I went on to study new media in Ryerson’s Image Arts Program where I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts. After university I was fortunate enough to receive two artist residencies in Iceland, and I’m very excited to say that I’m returning for a third next month.
Photography is my way of processing and understanding the world around me, one frame at a time. It acts as a filter or passage that allows me to better isolate my observations. It forces me to focus more on my surroundings and capture details that I might otherwise miss with my own eyes.
I choose to work with photography because it tells a story in a way that can’t be told any other way. It’s a challenge, like a puzzle, to unlock a narrative within a single frame. That’s the complexity in its simplicity. It can be minimal and abstract or rich and informative. It can take on many forms, which makes it an exciting medium to experiment and grow with.
I also really enjoy the performance aspect of photography; the act of physically getting to a place to capture a shot, deciding how close to get to a subject or at which angle to stand, and the spontaneity of assessing how to capture a moment in the moment.
What themes and/or motifs can we expect to see this month at Fringe in your installation Merchants of Izmir?
I’m always moving through different modes as an artist. If something inspires me I quickly jump on the opportunity to let that energy carry over through my art so that I can bring my ideas that stem from that inspiration to fruition.
One theme that has been a constant in my work over the years is that of people and place; the idea that our surroundings directly influence our way of life and how we interact with the world around us. Much of this exploration has come from the influence of my own surroundings while traveling.
People are inspiring my latest work. The inspiration for Merchants of Izmir came from my own need for human connection. How do we connect with new people in a new place? How can we interact and communicate with each other through barriers like language? In the case with this work it was art. My camera was the medium for making a brief but lasting connection.
What piece of your work do you love the most and why?
One of my favourite pieces in this series is the flower lady. She was a little shy but at the same time so happy to have her photo taken. It was a touching moment.
Be sure to drop by and see this striking installation at the opening reception for Merchants of Izmir this Wednesday, February 17th from 8pm - 11pm at Studio67.
There will be wine.