Armory Week 2017 News

Birds Are the Word in Beguiling Sculptures by Kathleen Ryan at Independent

Work by Kathleen Ryan in Ghebaly Gallery's booth at the Independent art fair.

Work by Kathleen Ryan in Ghebaly Gallery’s booth at the Independent art fair.

KATHERINE MCMAHON

Perched on racks near the ground-floor entrance to the Independent art fair, before the three floors higher up swell in size and welcome washes of natural light, are a series of ceramic birds by Los Angeles–based sculptor Kathleen Ryan. They’re droopy, drippy, and misshapen in ways that prove more evocative of birds than actual birds would, and they make for a nice flighty way to tune the eye.

The works are displayed on gleaming silver racks that are a part of each piece. “The birds are usually perched on something like a department-store rack to hang hats or underwear,” said Holly Stanton, director of Los Angeles’s Ghebaly Gallery, which represents Ryan. “It’s like the birds flew into Century 21.”

Nearby in the same booth are sculptures by Kelly Akashi, whose works are mysterious and macabre, and feature snake-shaped melted candles and copper casts of the artist’s own hands in creepy poses. “She wears her nails really long,” Stanton said, and accumulated scars and broken nails are ways of documenting the act of a sculptor at work.

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