Ryan Conrad Sawyer (American, b. 1983) is an American artist who presently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Seemingly, his works offer a contemplation of Minimalism’s concerns with duration, materiality, and semiotics as well as explore the role of greater political structures. Notably, his most prominent works are crafted from black powder, or gunpowder, scattered on primed surfaces and then ignited and subsequently extinguished to create smoldered patterns that convey a balance between control and chance, obscuring the distinction between material and image. Taking into account the prevalence of black powder in his home state of Virginia, these paintings recall his upbringing and invoke questions of the right to bear arms as noted in the United States Constitution. Additionally, these works are manufactured from common household materials associated with manual labor. Though presented in a seemingly “highbrow” context, the works serve as a subtle reference to growing socioeconomic inequity in America. He received his BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. ~ Paddle8
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