13-time-finalist and Archibald prize winner: a master in rich and buttery impasto

13-time-finalist and Archibald prize winner, Paul Ryan’s portraits and Australian coastal landscapes have granted him Art World acclaim. His works have been collected by institutions such as Bendigo Art Gallery, Geelong Regional Gallery, Lismore Regional Gallery and many more, as well as private collectors both in Australia and abroad. Receiving accolades for upwards of fifty art prizes to date, Ryan’s paintings reveal a physical, spiritual and artistic connection to place.  

Born in New Zealand and adopted by a loving family, Ryan’s schooling spanned England, Australia, America and New Zealand. However, his formative years were forged in Wollongong after coming to Australia at the age of 8. Unafraid to comment on issues of politics and often dealing with subjects such as Colonisation, Ryan sees part of his role as an artist as interpreting stories and conveying alternative narratives. 

Having learned the subtleties of his medium over a long and robust painting practice, Ryan has mastered the rich and buttery surfaces achieved by applying oil paint in thoughtfully gestural strokes. Lending itself to the fleshy tones and richly coloured textiles of his colonial subjects, Ryan’s impasto application is his work’s most distinctive quality. Similar to his portraiture, Ryan conveys the dark mountains, lush green rainforests, dramatic skies and violent seas of New South Wales through this gusty technique. Accounting for the slight movements of his wrist or the semi-mixing of paint on the palette before reaching the canvas, the artist is well versed in the intricacies of his art form.
July 19, 2022