Wavepool – Can you identify some recurring themes in your practice?
Ryan Oskin – Domesticity and nature continue to run throughout my practice. I used to think that these two realms of experience were separate, but there becomes less distinction as time passes. This is evident in my approach to my previous projects, Natural Wonders and Home Sweet Home. Home Sweet Home consists of plants and objects that occupied the spaces that I lived in for long and short periods of time. I was working on this project during the same year as my thesis work, Natural Wonders. For my thesis, I focused on the landscapes of New York and New Jersey that I felt were at odds with each other. It was only until completing these projects that I realized that our experience of the immediate environment is all constructed whether I was arranging objects indoors or walking around Brooklyn. By coming to terms with this duality, I am now able to focus on aspects of these themes I once ignored.
Wavepool – As you continue to make work, do you find it easier to make connections between what you’ve done? How valuable is time in understanding what you’re working on?
Ryan Oskin – It is only when I look back that my practice seems linear. I can see how each project breaks off and is re-examined in the next. It is difficult for me to admit this fact as I don’t relate as much to work I made two years ago. But I think it is really important to reflect on past work as well as current work. As I am working with new materials and methods that I am not always comfortable with, I am constantly looking back on new works to reconfigure them.
Wavepool – I’m really curious about your project Under Construction and the way in which photographs are used as both an end result and as a material for further development. What is the project about?
Ryan Oskin – My overall approach to my practice has become more reflexive. While I am still interested in creating still lives, the “straight” photograph has lost much of its appeal. By transforming photographs through sculpture or installation, I can address the materiality of the image. In Under Construction, sites and details are photographed and transposed into my studio. These images act as catalysts for sculptures that incorporate industrial, commercial, and photographic materials. In my studio, I am able to question the difference of freehand gestures and impromptu solutions used by both artists and workers. By exposing and expanding upon this process, I conflate my practice with a layman’s knowledge of building and marking to construct new objects.
Wavepool – Why do you think the straight photograph has lost its impact? Is this something that you believe in relation to the medium in general or is it more specific to your personal practice?
Ryan Oskin – This is definitely more relevant to my own practice as someone who studied photography in an academic setting. I am interested in keeping my practice captivating for myself and viewers. People expect photographs to be displayed and presented in fairly conventional ways. Many contemporary artists are expanding on these traditional ideas in interesting ways that expose photography to more interesting possibilities.
Wavepool – What are you currently working on?
Ryan Oskin – Under Construction will be featured in a two-week online installation with Violet Strays in May. I recently finished a project called Dreams Catalog that I will be distributing and selling. I will also be releasing an artist book with Common Satisfactory Studio that will be coming out this year. This book will be produced using a risograph printer that focuses on experimenting with the inherent flatness of the photographic image. By using various paper stocks and manipulation of the multilayer printing process, this book investigates the conceptual underpinnings of photography as both an idea and medium.
Wavepool – I’m excited to see the work up on Violet Strays. Without giving anything away, how do you plan to translate interventions that are often sculptural to a screen based viewing platform?
Ryan Oskin – I will use both still and moving images to expose my process in a multilayer way. I will be creating a new way to present these works online as not just installation shots or final pieces. I hope by doing this that I will provide another access point to the work that discusses the lives of artwork today that exist online and off simultaneously.
To see more, please visit Ryan’s website.