29 September21 December 2022

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Alison Jacques is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new work by Veronica Ryan, the artist’s first show at the gallery. This exhibition follows Ryan’s participation in the 2022 Whitney Biennial, New York, and succeeds her critically acclaimed 2021 survey at Spike Island, Bristol, for which Ryan has received a nomination for the 2022 Turner Prize (on show at Tate Liverpool from October). Ryan’s large bronze and marble outdoor works Custard Apple (Annonaceae), Breadfruit (Moraceae) and Soursop (Annonaceae) were unveiled in Hackney, London in 2021 as the nation’s first permanent monument to honour the Windrush generation.

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Veronica Ryan was born in 1956 in Plymouth, Montserrat, an overseas territory of the United Kingdom. She moved as an infant with her parents to London before going on to study at the St Albans College of Art & Design, Bath Academy of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art. Ryan divides her time between the USA and UK.

Ryan’s exhibition at the gallery features a variety of seeds, constructed and modelled in bronze and ceramic: including mango and avocado stones as well as various other materials. Ryan has been casting and constructing both from found and organic forms since the 1970s, a process which has rendered lifelike and sensuous results. The artist considers these to be bound in ‘multiple conversations’ about ecology, psychology and culture as indicated in the recent exhibition at Spike Island, ‘Along a Spectrum’.

For Ryan, just as a seed will thrive or die depending on its climate, the ‘life’ of these plants and their products – their uses, values and meanings – are determined by their settings, thus varying across time and place. She notes, for example, how cocoa was used in sacred rituals in pre-Hispanic cultures and how, originally, soup used salt and not sugar, before becoming a prized commodity and ultimately an object of mass industrial consumption.

After leaving the Slade in 1981, Ryan was awarded the Boise scholarship which enabled her to travel to Nigeria. Ryan recognises this time as significant in deepening her understanding and strengthening her interest in how plural meanings could be wrested from the raw materials of life. Here, Ryan witnessed votive objects formed from accessible, often everyday materials, and became fascinated by objects invested through ritual with a spiritual and charged power. Ryan’s visits to museums across Nigeria were a significant period for her and her abiding interest in the way objects can be used for psychic defence, personal care, mystical healing or as structures used for honouring ancestors. She recounted in a 2011 interview how she was struck by observing objects formed from ‘hair, egg, chalk and kola nuts’.

Elemental processes such as tying, binding, staining and stacking are common throughout Ryan’s work, deploying these techniques with intense sensitivity as a kind of reckoning or discovery. The critic Barry Schwabsky described Ryan’s recent piece for the 2022 Whitney Biennial as ‘a sort of rumination-by-doing’, in which ‘gathering and arranging’ are ‘materialized thought processes.’ A concern for how systems of meaning and forms of alternative knowledge can be conveyed materially undergirds Ryan’s practice. Reflecting on her recent commission for a monument to the Windrush generation, Ryan explains that the fruits she chose to magnify and reproduce in marble and bronze — breadfruit, custard apple, and soursop — were, she realised after completion, the very same ones that her mother ate while Ryan was in her womb. Ryan’s sculptural constellations similarly seem to convey information, silently speaking their own deep, organic language.

Recent museum solo exhibitions include ‘Along a Spectrum’ Spike Island, Bristol (2021), preceded by the Freelands Foundation awarding Ryan the 2018 Freelands Award; The Art House, Wakefield (2017); Tate St Ives (2017).

Group exhibitions include ‘Whitney Biennial: Quiet as It’s Kept’, curated by David Breslin and Adrienne Edwards; ‘A Clearing in the Forest’, The Tanks at Tate Modern, London; and ‘Breaking the Mould: Sculpture by Women since 1945’, an Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition (2021–ongoing).

Ryan’s work has been acquired by Tate; Arts Council Collection, London; Henry Moore Institute, Leeds; The Sainsbury Centre Collection, Norwich and The Hepworth Wakefield.

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Works

Movement of Light Extinguished II, 2022

Broken lightbulb, plaster, wool and elastic
10 x 209 x 12 cm (4 x 82 1/4 x 4 3/4 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Momento Vivere for Living, 2022

Bronze, painted patina
2 x 25 x 13 cm (3÷4 x 9 7/8 x 5 1/8 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Round Space in the Corner, 2022

Bronze and cardboard containers
74 x 18 x 18 cm (29 1/8 x 7 1/8 x 7 1/8 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Sweet Dreams are Made of These, 2022

Ceramic stoneware, glaze and jute mat
15 x 213 x 213 cm (5 7/8 x 83 7/8 x 83 7/8 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Collective Moments XII, 2022

Upholstery tape, embroidery hoop and bronze
7 x 26 x 26 cm (2 3/4 x 10 1/4 x 10 1/4 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Collective Moments XI, 2022

Ceramic stoneware
7 x 16 x 7 cm (2 3/4 x 6 1/4 x 2 3/4 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Collective Moments X, 2022

Turmeric stained fabric and pins
15.5 x 15.5 x 15.5 cm (6 1/8 x 6 1/8 x 6 1/8 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Pathways, c. mid 2000s

Cushion and embroidery
38 x 37 x 5 cm (15 x 14 5/8 x 2 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Collective Moments IX, 2022

Silicone
4 x 12 x 21 cm (1 5/8 x 4 3/4 x 8 1/4 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Collective Moments VII, 2022

Ceramic stoneware, vegetable net and twine
30 x 15 x 16 cm (11 3/4 x 5 7/8 x 6 1/4 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Collective Moments VIII, 2022

Lining fabric, thread, broad beans and embroidery ring
25 x 26.5 x 2 cm (9 7/8 x 10 3/8 x 3/4 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Collective Moments VI, 2022

Upholstery tape and bronze
16 x 17 x 10 cm (6 1/4 x 6 3/4 x 4 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Collective Moments V, 2022

Plaster, hairnet and plastic bags
10 x 9 x 16 cm (4 x 3 1/2 x 6 1/4 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Collective Moments IV, 2022

Plastic bottle and twine
16.5 x 22 x 20 cm (6 1/2 x 8 5/8 x 7 7/8 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Collective Moments III, 2022

Fabric, broad beans, thread and embroidery hoop
4 x 47 x 28 cm (1 5/8 x 18 1/2 x 11 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Collective Moments II, 2022

Sculpey
3 x 16 x 5.5 cm (1 1/8 x 6 1/4 x 2 1/8 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Collective Moments I, 2022

Fabric, fishing line, plaster, bandage and card
15 x 15 x 15 cm (5 7/8 x 5 7/8 x 5 7/8 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Confluence of Feelings, 2022

Bronze, thread and dyed crochet
14 x 132 x 82 cm (5 1/2 x 52 x 32 1/4 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Discarded Seeds Reconfigured, 2022

Ceramic stoneware and jute rug
20 x 300 x 300 cm (7 7/8 x 118 1/8 x 118 1/8 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Catching Bait, 2022

Plastic bottles, plastic webbing, thread and vegetable net
30 x 30 x 40 cm (11 3/4 x 11 3/4 x 15 3/4 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Movement of Light Extinguished I, 2022

Lightbulb, crochet fishing line and plaster
515 x 60 x 57 cm (202 3/4 x 23 5/8 x 22 1/2 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Flamboyant Yam & the Cho Cho Choke, 2022

Bronze, stoneware, cashmere, twine and jute mat
11 x 303 x 303 cm (4 3/8 x 119 1/4 x 119 1/4 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Coral Polyps Will Grow, 2022

Bronze, stoneware, bottle caps, limpet shells, hairnet, twine and jute mat
6 x 183 x 183 cm (2 3/8 x 72 x 72 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Prickly Pear Spines Stick in Your Throat, 2022

Bronze, crochet hairnet and elastic
10 x 10 x 80 cm (4 x 4 x 31 1/2 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Oblong Space in the Corner, 2022

Bronze and cardboard containers
50 x 13 x 18.5 cm (19 3/4 x 5 1/8 x 7 1/4 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Multiple Entry Points, 2022

Upholstery tape, pins and sculpey
34 x 30 x 30 cm (13 3/8 x 11 3/4 x 11 3/4 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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The Mundane Lure, 2022

Plastic bottles and twine
183 x 12 x 12 cm (72 x 4 3/4 x 4 3/4 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Momento Mori I, 2022

Bronze and reconfigured medical pillow
15 x 30 x 40 cm (5 7/8 x 11 3/4 x 15 3/4 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Momento Mori III, 2022

Bronze, medical pillow
20 x 36 x 40 cm, 7 7/8 x 14 1/8 x 15 3/4 in
© Veronica Ryan

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Tie Dye, Die, 2022

Tie dye pillow case and hairbands
42 x 28 x 6 cm (16 1/2 x 11 x 2 3/8 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Unwrapped, 2022

Bronze, exfoliating cloth, salvaged wrapping and avocado seeds
11 x 38 x 56 cm (4 3/8 x 15 x 22 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Momento Mori II, 2022

Bronze, plaster and hairnet with elastic
27 x 45 x 53 cm (10 5/8 x 17 3/4 x 20 7/8 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Porous Containment, 2022

Ceramic stoneware, dyed crochet and lining paper
11 x 43 x 43 cm (4 3/8 x 16 7/8 x 16 7/8 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Bound, 2022

Plaster and green metallic twine
34 x 15 x 15 cm (13 3/8 x 5 7/8 x 5 7/8 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Water Bottle Flower, 2022

Plaster
16 x 14 x 14 cm (6 1/4 x 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Seed tray, 2022

Plaster, seed tray and masking tape with dried flowers
4 x 30 x 53 cm (1 5/8 x 11 3/4 x 20 7/8 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Mould for Mango Seeds, 2022

Silicone rubber and plaster
8 x 30 x 70 cm (3 1/8 x 11 3/4 x 27 1/2 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Collective Moments XXIV, 2022

Plastic containers, buttons, beads, twine and vegetable net
32 x 14 x 10 cm (12 5/8 x 5 1/2 x 4 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Collective Moments XXIII, 2022

Ceramic stoneware
7 x 14 x 7 cm (2 3/4 x 5 1/2 x 2 3/4 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Collective Moments XXII, 2022

Bandages, plaster, thread and embroidery hoop
5 x 27 x 30 cm (2 x 10 5/8 x 11 3/4 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Collective Moments XXI, 2022

Rolled lace, house netting, sculpey and embroidery hoop
11 x 40 x 30 cm (4 3/8 x 15 3/4 x 11 3/4 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Associate I Dissociate, 2000

Teabags and thread
2 x 23 x 19 cm (3÷4 x 9 x 7 1/2 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Collective Moments XX, 2022

Plastic bottles and vegetable net
7 x 14 x 17 cm (6 3/4 x 5 1/2 x 6 3/4 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Collective Moments XIX, 2022

Silicone
3 x 18 x 9 cm (1 1/8 x 7 1/8 x 3 1/2 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Collective Moments XVII, 2022

Plastic packaging
5 x 20 x 38 cm (2 x 7 7/8 x 15 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Collective Moments XVIII, 2022

Ceramic stoneware, plastic netting and thread
17 x 20 x 15 cm (6 3/4 x 7 7/8 x 5 7/8 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Collective Moments XVI, 2022

Cartridge paper and twine
14 x 20 x 13 cm (5 1/2 x 7 7/8 x 5 1/8 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

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Collective Moments XIV, 2022

Plaster, hairnet, sculpey and twine
17 x 6 x 6 cm (6 3/4 x 2 3/8 x 2 3/8 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

Enquire

  • Movement of Light Extinguished II, 2022
  • Momento Vivere for Living, 2022
  • Round Space in the Corner, 2022
  • Sweet Dreams are Made of These, 2022
  • Collective Moments XII, 2022
  • Collective Moments XI, 2022
  • Collective Moments X, 2022
  • Pathways, c. mid 2000s
  • Collective Moments IX, 2022
  • Collective Moments VII, 2022
  • Collective Moments VIII, 2022
  • Collective Moments VI, 2022
  • Collective Moments V, 2022
  • Collective Moments IV, 2022
  • Collective Moments III, 2022
  • Collective Moments II, 2022
  • Collective Moments I, 2022
  • Confluence of Feelings, 2022
  • Discarded Seeds Reconfigured, 2022
  • Catching Bait, 2022
  • Movement of Light Extinguished I, 2022
  • Flamboyant Yam & the Cho Cho Choke, 2022
  • Coral Polyps Will Grow, 2022
  • Prickly Pear Spines Stick in Your Throat, 2022
  • Oblong Space in the Corner, 2022
  • Multiple Entry Points, 2022
  • The Mundane Lure, 2022
  • Momento Mori I, 2022
  • Momento Mori III, 2022
  • Tie Dye, Die, 2022
  • Unwrapped, 2022
  • Momento Mori II, 2022
  • Porous Containment, 2022
  • Bound, 2022
  • Water Bottle Flower, 2022
  • Seed tray, 2022
  • Mould for Mango Seeds, 2022
  • Collective Moments XXIV, 2022
  • Collective Moments XXIII, 2022
  • Collective Moments XXII, 2022
  • Collective Moments XXI, 2022
  • Associate I Dissociate, 2000
  • Collective Moments XX, 2022
  • Collective Moments XIX, 2022
  • Collective Moments XVII, 2022
  • Collective Moments XVIII, 2022
  • Collective Moments XVI, 2022
  • Collective Moments XIV, 2022

Installation

Press

Flotsam and Jetsam

Eloise Hendy, Plinth

November 2022

Veronica Ryan’s Flamboyant Fruit

Salena Barry, Frieze

October 2022

Veronica Ryan at Moncler – The Extraordinary Expedition

Frieze

October 2022

Video

At Home: Artists in Conversation: Veronica Ryan and Clarrie Wallis

Related

Veronica Ryan

Artist Profile

Veronica Ryan in Whitney Biennial

‘Quiet as It’s Kept’ opens in April at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Veronica Ryan Nominated for Turner Prize

The four shortlisted artists will exhibit their work at Tate Liverpool in October 2022