For Claudia Ryan, abstract art is more than her preferred medium. It’s a means of finding her voice.
For Claudia Ryan, art has been a lifelong companion. A self-described shy, introverted person, as a teenager, she discovered art offered her a way to express herself where words failed.
“I fell in love with it,” she says. “It was something that set me apart. Those teenage years can be hard. Art was my emotional outlet; it was cathartic and it became my voice.”
Ryan, who works mainly in pastel and ink, enjoys working abstractly. Her large works feature dense layers of color and lines, which she says most accurately represent her thoughts and dreams.
Her recent work will be on display from June 9 through Aug. 11 in Ringling College’s new Richard and Barbara Basch Gallery. We sat down with Ryan to talk self expression, abstract art and her upcoming exhibit.
"I LOVED ART HISTORY in high school. That was an eye-opening experience. I realized that people actually do this. This whole world existed, and here was my way into it.
"WHEN I WAS YOUNG, I had a hard time expressing myself. Art was my way to be bold. It was such a passionate feeling. I see art as my companion. In hindsight, it became my voice.
"I WAS ALWAYS DRAWN to abstract art. It’s a way to tap into the collective unconscious.
"I LOVE ABSTRACT WORK, because I can make up the rules myself. I’m out from under the thumb of the world. It’s my way to create something meaningful.
"ABSTRACTION WAS MORE LIKE MY DREAMS. It’s how I put my thoughts on paper.
"WORKING IN THIS GALLERY has impacted my work. It’s brought out a lighter side to my art.”