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Work Samples

Space Helmet

Space Helmet is aesthetically inspired by a 1950s B-movie view of the possible future. This sculpture features a globe turned into a space helmet, used for a performative planetary landing, and finally displayed as a television. Decades ago, it seemed certain that, the human race would have succeeded in landing on many of the planets and moons in our solar system. Today, economics, politics, priorities, and public interest have conspired to make that potential human achievement seem more and more like an impossible fantasy.

Every Feature Film on my Hard Drive, 3 Pixels Tall and Sped Up 7000%

Every Feature Film on My Hard Drive, 3 Pixels Tall and Sped Up 7000% is a kind of structural, found footage experience of media hyperavailability. It has become so easy to amass personal, virtual libraries of cultural artifacts, and by creating this piece I was thinking about how to use that enormous wealth of material to generate new work. I conceived of this piece as painting with films. By compressing each movie into a stripe of color and duration, and lining them all up together in a single frame, the whole history of my film-watching is experienced as a single painterly composition.

Picture Frame

Picture Frame creates is a détournement of the animated digital photo frames usually found displaying images of family and friends. These devices occupy a wonderful “the-future-is-now” meets “sure to look dated” cultural space, but in this work the frame itself becomes both canvas and subject. By recursively displaying pictures of itself showing pictures of itself, the frame slowly creates a wormhole. This portal suggests science fiction aesthetics, space travel in films from the psychedelic sixties, and minimalist film and painting compositions.

Perfect Pixels proposal

Perfect Pixels is a multi-channel video sculpture which the Rule of Thirds intersection pixels of classic films are highlighted and magnified on four wall-mounted screens. Each installation of the series displays the perfect pixels from a film that won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, showing the entire runtime of the film in a loop. Marked with the Rule of Thirds guidelines, the otherwise blank wall serves as the remainder of the film’s aspect ratio. The Rule of Thirds is the compositional principle that divides an image into thirds vertically and horizontally.

Space Helmet

Globe, papier-mâché, box, antennae, plastic tubes, spray paint, plastic film, video monitor, 2 minute digital video loop

Space Helmet is aesthetically inspired by a 1950s B-movie view of the possible future. This sculpture features a globe turned into a space helmet, used for a performative planetary landing, and finally displayed as a television. As a child, I was certain that by my adulthood, the human race would have succeeded in landing on many of the planets and moons in our solar system. In my adulthood, economics, politics, priorities, and public interest have conspired to make that potential human achievement seem more and more like an impossible fantasy. In this video sculpture, I imagine what we might say for posterity if we were to land on another world.

Every Feature Film On My Hard Drive, 3 Pixels Tall and Sped Up 7000%

Digital video
3:29

Every Feature Film on My Hard Drive, 3 Pixels Tall and Sped Up 7000% is a kind of structural, found
footage experience of media hyperavailability. It has become so easy to amass personal, virtual libraries
of cultural artifacts, and by creating this piece I was thinking about how to use that enormous wealth of
material to generate new work. I conceived of this piece as painting with films. By compressing each
movie into a stripe of color and duration, and lining them all up together in a single frame, the whole
history of my film-watching is experienced as a single painterly composition.

Ensomphaloskepsis

Ensomphaloskepsis
Digital Video
2:13

Enso drawings and navel-gazing connect in this performance. Enso is a Zen Buddhist meditative practice that involves the attempt to draw a perfect circle in one fluid motion. Omphaloskepsis is another meditative practice using the navel as a focus to point the consciousness inward. "Navel-gazing", however, has also become a pejorative term, referring to a person who is too self-absorbed. This performance for video combines these practices. The search for self-improvement and self-enlightenment can simultaneously be a search of self-involvement.

All Things

Digital Video
1:30

Skywriting of the word "insurance" disappears as new rays of light dawn. Nothing lasts forever.

Picture Frame

Digital images, digital picture frame

Picture Frame creates is a détournement of the animated digital photo frames usually found displaying
images of family and friends. These devices occupy a wonderful “the-future-is-now” meets “sure to look
dated” cultural space, but in this work the frame itself becomes both canvas and subject. By recursively
displaying pictures of itself showing pictures of itself, the frame slowly creates a wormhole. This portal
suggests science fiction aesthetics, space travel in films from the psychedelic sixties, and minimalist film
and painting compositions. The magical-yet-kitschy nature of the object then recedes back until only the
blank frame is left once again

Perfect Pixels proposal

Video loops on four wall-mounted digital picture frames, gaffer tape

Perfect Pixels is a video sculpture series in which the Rule of Thirds intersection pixels of classic films are highlighted and magnified on four wall-mounted screens. Each installation of the series displays the perfect pixels from a film that won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, showing the entire runtime of the film in a loop. Marked with the Rule of Thirds guidelines, the otherwise blank wall serves as the remainder of the film’s aspect ratio.

The Rule of Thirds is the compositional principle that divides an image into thirds vertically and horizontally. Cinematographers align subjects along those guides to create the most visually interesting composition. The points where these lines intersect are said to be the most visually powerful in the composition. Drawing this idea to its logical conclusion, the exact pixels at those points should be the most perfect pixels throughout the entire film.

The individual pixels are so small that you might not be able to see them blinking. But when they are magnified, they become colored flicker films, charged with the most important visual information in their original source film.

  • Perfect Pixels proposal

    Perfect Pixels is a multi-channel video sculpture which the Rule of Thirds intersection pixels of classic films are highlighted and magnified on four wall-mounted screens. Each installation of the series displays the perfect pixels from a film that won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, showing the entire runtime of the film in a loop. Marked with the Rule of Thirds guidelines, the otherwise blank wall serves as the remainder of the film’s aspect ratio. The Rule of Thirds is the compositional principle that divides an image into thirds vertically and horizontally.

Lost

Inkjet on paper, exposed to water and sunlight, in plastic sheet protectors

The Lost series is a group of hundreds of “lost” flyers that have been exposed to the elements. Walking around the city, I have often seen lost posters searching for sadly missing possessions or pets. From time to time, I see a flyer that someone has placed in a plastic sheet protector to shield it from the weather. Although their creators had the best of intentions, these protectors have only served to lock in moisture and condensation, dissipating the photograph. Instead of depicting whatever has gone missing, the image itself has become lost. But despite the sadness inherent in the object, there is a captivating beauty in the abstraction of the displaced ink. This series distills that experience to its essence: a plastic sleeve, the word “LOST”, and a dissolved inkjet image.

  • Lost

    inkjet on paper, exposed to water and sunlight, in plastic sheet protectors
  • Lost

    installation at the Whitaker Gallery, Hood College, Frederick, MD
  • Lost

    inkjet on paper, exposed to water and sunlight, in plastic sheet protectors
  • Lost

    inkjet on paper, exposed to water and sunlight, in plastic sheet protectors
  • Lost

    inkjet on paper, exposed to water and sunlight, in plastic sheet protectors
  • Lost

    inkjet on paper, exposed to water and sunlight, in plastic sheet protectors
  • Lost

    inkjet on paper, exposed to water and sunlight, in plastic sheet protectors
  • as close as our dreams, as far as our fears

    An interview by Adam Farcus about my solo exhibition Lost, which included the works Lost, Space Helmet, and Console.
    PDF icon as close as our dreams, as far as our fears

Console series

Console: Entertainment System
Broken Nintendo Entertainment System, polyurethane foam, latex paint

Console: Super Entertainment System
Broken Super Nintendo Entertainment System, polyurethane foam, latex paint

Console: Genesis
Broken Sega Genesis, polyurethane foam, latex paint

The Console series is a group of found-object sculptures created from the popular video game systems of my youth. Once the height of entertainment technology, these Nintendo and Sega systems have with time become obsolete, and have now entered into a nostalgia-driven status as retro collectors’ items. Filled from the inside with expanding foams and colorful latex paints, these electronic corpses display an almost fungal sense of growth-from-decay.

Portal Series

A series of magic portals offering a connection to some other world. Entrance might be an opportunity to escape this world and bring back help. Or perhaps this opening is a vulnerability, allowing something dangerous to pass through to our side. In this series, the image and meaning of the portal is explored in painting, sculpture, and video.

  • Portal

    digital video loop, projection (installation at Videopolis, Metro Gallery, Baltimore, MD)
  • Portal

    computer keys, dowels
  • Portal

    7' x 4' latex, acrylic, and oil on canvas
  • Portal

    7' x 4' latex, acrylic, and oil on canvas
  • Portal

    7' x 4' latex, acrylic, and oil on canvas
  • Portal

    7' x 4' latex, acrylic, and oil on canvas
  • Portal

    7' x 4' latex, acrylic, and oil on canvas
  • Portal

    7' x 4' latex, acrylic, and oil on canvas
  • Bottomless Pit

    5" x 48" x 48" latex, acrylic, oil, India ink, and charcoal on canvas

Potions series

dimensions variable
Glass apothecary and laboratory bottles, acrylic and oil painting supplies

Science and magic, chemistry and alchemy, medicine and fantasy. The materials of painting are bottled as potions, elixirs, antidotes, reagents, and patent-medicines

Balsam of Life

Lava lamp, bottle opener, Turlington’s Balsam of Life bottle, pedestal, and shelf

The lava lamp, once an object that promised meditation, enlightenment, mind-expansion, and style, has become instead a kitschy knick-knack from your local mall. An attempt is made to redeem the power of the lava lamp by bottling its magical fluids as the Balsam of Life. Things get messy.

  • Potions series

    glass apothecary and laboratory bottles, acrylic and oil painting supplies
  • Potions series

    glass apothecary and laboratory bottles, acrylic and oil painting supplies
  • Potions series

    glass apothecary and laboratory bottles, acrylic and oil painting supplies
  • Potions series

    glass apothecary and laboratory bottles, acrylic and oil painting supplies (installation at Eastern Expansion, Chicago, IL)
  • Potions series

    glass apothecary and laboratory bottles, acrylic and oil painting supplies
  • Balsam of Life

    Balsam of Life Lava lamp, bottle opener, Turlington’s Balsam of Life bottle, pedestal, and shelf
  • Balsam of Life

    Balsam of Life Lava lamp, bottle opener, Turlington’s Balsam of Life bottle, pedestal, and shelf
  • Balsam of Life

    Balsam of Life Lava lamp, bottle opener, Turlington’s Balsam of Life bottle, pedestal, and shelf
  • Balsam of Life

    Balsam of Life Lava lamp, bottle opener, Turlington’s Balsam of Life bottle, pedestal, and shelf
  • Balsam of Life

    Balsam of Life Lava lamp, bottle opener, Turlington’s Balsam of Life bottle, pedestal, and shelf

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About Ryan

Ryan Schmal Murray creates conceptually-driven artwork that combines video, screens, projections, found object sculpture, performance, painting, and music. Exploring electronic media and its relationship to physical media, his work addresses the search for meaning at the intersections of “high” and “... more

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