"For over thirty years my practice has been defined by three pillars, Landscape, Portraiture and the Figure in Landscape. The escarpment and sea of the northern Illawarra have been my muse. It is where I live, surf and raise a family with my wife and has been one of the constants for me in an ever-changing life. It is dark and powerful, yet beautiful and welcoming.
I recently introduced a range of new colours to my practice made by Old Holland Oils. One colour in particular that was a revelation and transformed the way I paint the ocean and escarpment, was Cyan. This colour enables me to achieve a greater vibrancy and luminosity in the landscapes so this new series of paintings is titled Cyan Summer.
It is important to note that there are two paintings of Tahiti (Island in French Polynesia) in this show namely Heart of Darkness and Lagoon. Both are based on William Hodges' painting Tahiti Revisited 1776. Hodges was a member of James Cooks’ second voyage to the Pacific. His paintings had a lasting influence on European ideas of the Pacific in particular the notions of the exotic and unspoiled Utopias. These paintings of my home in Thirroul and Tahiti are all reimagined ideas of Utopia. Real in the imagination for a few short minutes but ultimately, only illusions." Paul Ryan, March 2019
Born in New Zealand in 1964, Paul Ryan moved to Australia with his adoptive parents in 1973. Exhibiting his work since 1988, he has received many highly respected award nominations throughout his career.
Most notably, he is a thirteen-time finalist in the Archibald Prize, was recently awarded Highly Commended for the Wynne Art Prize (2018), has been a finalist in the Doug Moran Portrait Prize (2009, 2011—2014, 2019), the Mosman Art Prize (2009, 2011—2015, 2018), the Kilgour Art Prize (2016, 2018), the Blake Prize (2013), the New South Wales Parliament Plein Air Prize (2008, 2011) and the Wynne (2006—07, 2009) and the Sulman (2009, 2012—13).
He won the 2015 Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize at Lismore Regional Gallery for his portrait of Noah Taylor. His work is held in public museums and private collections throughout Australia and internationally.