In this painting, a man in a suit stands in a shower while luxuriating in his own filth, guilt and hubris. The subejct gazes at the viewer, inviting them to revel in their own self-destruction. This work is from a series by the artist that explores the death drive at our species' current apex of existential risk.
Ryan Cullen's art practice layers diverse philosophical and psychological histories to examine the making of new images during periods of general systemic collapse. The artist's paintings offer brutal genealogies of the materialist mechanics of societal destruction. By creating concrete images for these ideologies and their histories, Cullen simultaneously builds and analyzes the iconological networks of hegemonic decline.
Ryan Cullen's practice synthesizes philosophical and psychological histories. Cullen does this to examine how and why new images are made during historical moments when systems seem to be collapsing. The artist’s work explores the brutal genealogies of societal destruction, depicting ecstatic Protestant Puritans, vivisections of domestic furniture and prophetic mess fetishists. Cullen's work employs the painted image as a means to make visible both ideologies and their histories—simultaneously building and analyzing networks of images that explore hegemonic decline.
Ryan Cullen studied at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, finishing in 2018. The artist received a BFA from the Cooper Union in New York City in 2016.
Solo exhibitions of Cullen’s work have taken place at: SITUATIONS in New York City; The Meeting in New York City; Essex Flowers in New York City; Etablissement d'en Face in Brussels, Belgium; Studio Picknick in Berlin, Germany; and Portikus in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Group exhibitions that have shown Cullen’s work have taken place at: CLEARING in Brooklyn, New York; Nassauischer Kunstverein in Wiesbaden, Germany; and the Museum fur Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt am Main, Germany; among others.