Ryan Oliver's works are collage. His current practice examines the visual language of high fashion/lifestyle periodicals: the beauty/perfection constant scrutinized, cut from the original context and juxtaposed with strenuous misalliance.
Other works facilitate dialogue between the innuendo laden visual language of fashion imagery with pornography by exchanging the implicit for the explicit.
New works confront fashion's covenant of eternal youth; tumorous flesh, death and grief are imposed as rebuttal.


T: 07985 130127

E: ryanoliverart@yahoo.co.uk

EXHIBITIONS & PUBLICATIONS

i shot kate moss, Interview conducted by Zav Jonas
www.ishotkatemoss.blogspot.co.uk
2015
 
Spike Island, Bristol

Spike Open 2005-2013 

upandcomingstyle Issue #1
(Feature, collective artist) 
2013 

upandcomingstyle (webzine), Interview.
2012
www.upandcomingsyle.com/insight-14-ryan-oliver/ 

Olyvia Fine Art, London
'Media Appropriation'
2011

East London Line, Interview.
2011 

DELIRIO 8: CINE (featured artist, spanish webzine). 
2011

CRACK Magazine No.8 (featured artist, article and interview).
2010

Dark Inspiration: Grotesque Illustrations, Art and Design.
Viction:ary
2010

Audio Bullys 'Higher Than The Eiffel'
Album art work
2010

Plan 9, Bristol
Did I Tell You Last Week That I Am Going To Become A Barbarian?
2008

Centre Space, Bristol
So, What do You Do?
2007

The Labyrinth Of The Gaze:

Five Magazine – Gavin Turk
2005

Jamaica Street Studio, Bristol
Open Studios
2002 - 2005

INTERVIEW
Excerpt taken from an interview for 'East London Line', March 2011 (conducted by Angus Spawton-Rice).

Angus Spawton-Rice I've read about your work on your website, but could you explain about it some more, and what it is that attracts you to these issues/subjects?

Ryan Oliver I began to work with collage when I studied illustration at university, where, the fulfilment of a given brief was the only concern. After graduation, when liberated from the constraints of an illustrative mindset, I expanded my practice. High fashion/lifestyle periodicals became my primary resource from which I scoured for and salvaged my imagery. During this laborious process, the visual language of fashion photography/advertising became apparent, beauty/perfection and sexualisation being the two constants. Due to my close proximity with this material I became concerned with the position of women regarding image and representation. Collage is the perfect medium for such a rebuttal. Collage by its very nature is disparaging of its source material; a destructive gesture of cutting and slicing a pre-existing image, only to be redeemed by the perpetrator, as he or she sees fit. It is a response and is countering to what was presented originally.

ASR You've been described as an upcoming or emerging British artist, how does this make you feel about your work and the questions you are raising? In recent years there has been quite a lot of discussion in the media about unattainable standards of beauty in magazines, which make up a lot of your source material. Do you think your recent work will be a part of the movement of changing attitudes regarding this?

 

RO I feel the phrase 'emerging British artist' is a little grandiose and spurious. It's true that I'm an artist, it's true that I'm British, but I have no 'profile' in the art world as yet, so It would be dishonest of me to concur with such a phrase. I don't feel a part of any 'movement' and would be reluctant to be perceived as belonging to one, through fear of my work becoming stale or being 'pigeon holed'. I merely make observations and don't believe it's an artist’s role to answer questions but to raise them. That said, I would have no problem collaborating with other artists who share similar concerns.

ASR Who are your influences and who inspires you as a creative person?

 

RO At College I went through a transitional period, creatively. No longer content with the more traditional skill set, I discovered collage. The Dadaists, Richard Hamilton and Romare Bearden were a major influence and demonstrated the communicative possibilities both politically and otherwise, of the collage aesthetic. More recently, I admire the work of Linder Sterling, John Stezaker and the collage work of Thomas Hirschhorn among many others.

ASR You must have bought loads of magazines for your work. Do you have subscriptions; have you spent a fair bit of cash on them? Or do you steal them from hairdressers?

 

RO I have a shelf in my studio buckling under the weight of over a hundred magazines. They have been amassed from various sources but mainly purchased by myself. The fact that I've spent money doesn't make me complicit or feel that I've aided and abetted. I derive great satisfaction from abducting imagery aimed at the consumer and inverting the content to communicate divergent views. 

 

 


ASR 
In his book Subculture: The Meaning of Style, Dick Hebdige talks about taking signs; imagery, objects or bits of mainstream culture, and changing their meaning. Winning them over, so to speak, so that they no longer carry a hegemonic meaning and instead by taking them out of context, showing how ideological the original message was and turning it into a new, subversive message. This is something I would definitely relate to your work, would you say that this is part of what you're doing? Society appears to be becoming disillusioned about the current image of women and beauty, women themselves in particular, however whenever changes of attitude like this happen, the market tends to be very quick in picking up on the nonconformist ideas and distorting them to their own advantage. With this in mind, and I'm sorry for how vague this question is, do you have an predictions for how attitudes and ideas towards beauty and the female as an objects might change in the coming decade or two?

RO Precisely. As I stated previously; I invert the content to communicate divergent views. This is the essence of collage. As The Dadaist Hugo Ball expressed, "For us, art is not an end in itself ... but it is an opportunity for the true perception and criticism of the times we live in."

Over the past two decades, the use of increasingly explicit sexual imagery in the media, especially in consumer-oriented print advertising has become almost commonplace. Sex sells. I don't suspect much will change in the next ten, twenty years.