A poet and longtime resident of Greenwich Village, where her neighbors included many artists and writers associated with the New York School, Ryan began painting at the age of forty-nine. Ten years later, in 1948, an exhibition of work by the German artist Kurt Schwitters inspired Ryan to adopt the medium of collage. Deeply attuned to subtleties in color, texture, and pattern, Ryan achieved rich variation in these small-scale works made from paper, cloth, and found materials such as string, foil, and sandpaper. The all-over compositions and linear movements of the woven, often frayed papers and fabrics evoke the gestural energy of Abstract Expressionism.
Gallery label from Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction, April 19 - August 13, 2017.