Holly Ryan Sculpture
“Abstract notions of beauty and femininity.” – Holly Ryan
Picking up the chisel to hand-carve abstract faces and the expressive elegance of the female form, Holly began sculpting as a functional way to display her jewellery designs at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia. Since then, sculpting has evolved as an important part of the artist’s creative practice and one that continually informs her jewellery collections.
Describing these art forms, Holly says that sculpting is akin to jewellery making, just on a much grander scale. Both are handcrafted, both are inspired by the canon of art history, and both reflect the artist’s passion for sustainability – incorporating recycled or found materials into the finished product.
As a natural extension of her creative practice with jewellery, Holly’s sculptures allow her to meditate on themes of modern femininity, artisanship and the wabi sabi notion of finding beauty in imperfection.
Holly’s recent exhibitions include, 'On Self Respect' Jerico Contemporary, 2020, 'Exhale' Jerico Contemporary, 2019, 'A Carved Revelation' Jerico Contemporary, 2018 and 'Christiane Spangsberg & Holly Ryan' Jerico Contemporary Booth, Sydney Contemporary, 2018.
You can view her current available works here.
ON SELF RESPECT
Holly Ryan debuted her third solo sculpture show at Jerico Contemporary Gallery in December 2020. Titled ‘On Self Respect’ this collection melds Holly’s creative realms and sees the artist introduce beautiful new materials and techniques. Incorporating bronze for the first time, this series marries Holly’s longstanding practice as a goldsmith and her artistic sculptural practice to date.
“There is something quite beautiful about the process of working with bronze,” she elaborates, “because it forces you to slow down and enjoy the lengthy and physical process of bringing these pieces to life.”
Bronze is the core alchemical element of this exhibition and it is rendered in high shine as well as textured finishes, with varied patinas. “Bronze has a beautiful weightiness to it,” the artist says. “It is solid and designed to last forever.”
Throughout ‘On Self Respect’ the golden appeal of this metal is complemented by the warmth of natural timber. “Sustainability is incredibly important to me,” Holly explains. “So I have worked with recycled hardwoods for this show – all of which have a shou sugi ban finish.”
Shou sugi ban (焼杉板) describes the Japanese art of preserving and finishing wood using fire and it lends a charred effect that sets a dramatic backdrop for the artist’s golden bronze works.
The use of wood is something that Holly has just begun to introduce in her jewellery making, while themes of stacking, asymmetry, and revered totems also extend throughout both of the artist’s creative practices.
“For this exhibition I have explored the idea of sculpture as a sacred object,” Holly says. “The totemic nature of these sculptural forms is not so dissimilar from the talismans I create in my jewellery practice. These works are just future heirlooms for the home, rather than the body.”
In contrast to the figures, the totems evoke silhouettes from the artist’s eponymous jewellery line, where shape, line and form are brought to the fore. With this relationship in mind, the collection also includes seven limited edition torso necklaces handmade by the artist.
See Holly Ryan’s latest available works here. And for all sales enquiries, please email email@example.com
Holly also works on a commission basis, for one-off bespoke sculptures for her clients. So if there is a work that you like that has already been sold, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your options.