Paul Ryan has had a huge year – 3 solo shows across Australia with Nanda Hobbs, Edwina Corlette and James Makin galleries as well as work being shown with all three at Sydney Contemporary. He has exhibited his work in over 20 solo shows.

He’s won numerous art prizes and has been shortlisted many times – 13 times in the Archibald Prize – and on two occasions he achieved the rare distinction of being a finalist in the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes in the Art Gallery of NSW in the one year.

His work is characterised by the liberal application of paint, mainly with a palette knife, producing stunning portraits, figures and landscapes.

Ryan lives and works in Thirroul, a coastal oasis south of Sydney, where his paintings share space with his surfboards. It’s this landscape, with the backdrop of a dramatic escarpment, that Paul paints time and time again, often through the lens of Australian colonial history which has been inspired by literature and music.

This subject has not been without controversy, however. In 2010 his show ‘No Country for Dreaming’ was briefly shut down after negative reactions within some parts of the Aboriginal community and he talks about that in this episode.

Ryan also talks movingly about his adoption as a child and how that’s impacted his life and art. He also gives many insights into his process and techniques.

A short video of Paul Ryan in his studio will be posted on the Talking with Painters Youtube channel soon.

Upcoming events

Links to things and people we talk about on the show

‘Thirteen Noahs’, 2015, oil on mixed found and bought objects (Finalist Archibald Prize 2015, Art Gallery of NSW)

‘Blue Mountains Noah’, 2015, 79 x 68cm, oil on found framed painting (Winner of the Herford Hardwood Portrait Prize 2015)

Painting hanging in Ryan’s studio which we discuss in the podcast at 18:45

‘Cullen – Been Feudin’, 2012, oil on linen, 244 x 198cm (Finalist 2012 Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of NSW)

Artwork Ryan and Cullen created together during a sitting for Ryan’s Archibald painting of him discussed in the podcast at 21:40

‘Not a Sound Out of the Hills No More than Smoke’, 2010, oil on linen, 168 x 122cm  (Winner of Paddington Art Prize 2010)

‘The Hunt, Bulli’ 2017, oil on linen, 122 x 122cm

Album Art for Bill Callahan’s album Apocalypse discussed at 32mins of the podcast