The NYC-based art advisor Rebecca Ryba talks about her favorite works in the November selection on Platform.
In their own words
What makes an art collection distinct is one that speaks about the collector more than anything else. Collecting art is a highly personal activity, as we are often drawn to artwork that reflects our taste, aesthetics or challenges us. This is one of the many reasons I love building art collections.
I am originally from Sydney, Australia, however, I live in New York. I started Ryba Art Advisory in 2020. In 2011, I entered the art world as an assistant to curator Neville Wakefield. Working for him, I learned indispensable knowledge about curating that has helped me form my opinions.
I started working in advising in 2017 when Lisa Schiff, founder of SFA Advisory, took a chance on me and taught me how the ecosystem of the art world operates. I gained invaluable knowledge from her while working together and building collections. I haven’t looked back since.
I view each collection as an ongoing curatorial project. As an advisor, I love the never-ending search that culminates in bringing together a collection of exceptional objects that express one's individual taste, intellect, and proclivities. It's important for me to strike the balance between personal and intrinsic value for each artwork. I think about how artistic movements, market forces, and art history assign value to a work of art.
As an Australian, I am committed to helping bridge the gap between the Australian and international art market by promoting emerging Australian artists on the international stage.
To see more artists that I am looking at. Follow me on Instagram: @rebeccaryba
Max Jansons, My Gift to Agnes MartinOil on linen, 15.0 × 13.0 inches, 2022. $8000
There has never been a moment when I haven't smiled ear to ear while standing in front of a Max Janson’s painting; they are buoyant paintings imbued with pure joy.
Beyond the extraordinary jubilance in his work, it is filled with layers of complexity. Jansons constructs quirky compositions with skilled and varied brushwork, all while referencing art history. Abstract painters are unearthed in unexpected ways. In the past, Jansons has transformed a Franz Kline painting into a vase, a Frank Stella into a flower, and so on. In one of the works featured on Platform, “My Gift to Agnes Martin,” he shines a new light on one of his favorite early Agnes Martin paintings.
Paying homage to the traditions of still-life painting, Jansons constructs an atmosphere of celebration, including his distinct wild, hallucinatory twists. One can get lost in his kaleidoscopic exploration of the genre. Browse the work.
Samantha Roth, Red FilesPaper, black gesso, colored pencils, 30.0 × 22.0 inches, 2021. $3750
One of the favorite parts of my job is meeting artists, especially in their studios. In my dreams, I am a fly on the wall in a classic, 19th-century Parisian studio or a reclaimed industrial loft in the 1950s in downtown Manhattan. Ross’s Red Files invites the viewer into the sacred studio space.
Learning about the artistic process is vital to collecting. As my old professor, the late Tom McNulty, stated, “Central to any study of the art world, including the art markets, is the artist, without whose work we would have no object to study.” Ross encourages this undertaking, unveiling the studio and offering backstage passes to a mysterious territory of creative play. In Ross’s studio, sheets of paper full of ideas and sketches are stacked, rolled, and tucked away, ready to be discovered in a “cabinet of curiosity.” Browse the work.
Ryan Fenchel, QuickeningOil on canvas, 20.0 × 16.0 inches, 2022. $3500
Imagine if you could see the stages of your favorite painting before it was complete. Ever-adaptive, artists are brilliant at shedding, layering, and reworking their imagery until it reaches that illustrious stage of perfection.
In the same vein as Samantha Ross, Ryan Fenchel divulges a crucial phase in artmaking: transformation. His imagery features flattened vessel forms, recalling Athenian vase painting with the flair of Minimalism and Surrealism. Quickening depicts a vessel in process, its twisting shape muddled with developing, expressive forms. The composition embraces the process of artmaking, finding the raw beauty in each stage and inviting the viewer to bear witness to its creation. Browse the work.
Marceline Mason, Hole in the SkyOil on birch panel, 48.0 × 36.0 inches, 2022. $3500
I am often drawn to works set under the moonlight — it transfixes me. A mysterious, cosmic symbol that evokes romance, enchantment, curiosity, darkness, and solitude. It also probably comes from my love of 18th-century Romanticism, as these classical paintings crave an understanding of the world in a manner that overflows with emotion.
For centuries, moonlight has continuously illuminated artists’ imaginations. Marceline Mason sustains this tradition and embraces the range of emotions expressed through the moon. “Hole in the Sky” is a calm, contemplative scene balanced with a mysterious anticipation for what may be beyond the foreground. Browse the work.