On the Art of Ryan Fugate -Phillip Rubinov Jacobson
Abstract painting came about as a reaction to the five-hundred-year-long domination of realism in western art. As an art form, it does not focus on material form. Rather, it attempts to use various visual techniques to unveil an intangible experience-that of the psychological world, sometimes even touching spiritual realms. Here we may point to a feature underpinning Fugate's art, which is pivotal to a proper experience of his work, just as a poetic language may be pivotal to the formation of cultures. Art and cultural artifacts are vital to aesthetic experience and aesthetic education, and both the language of art and other languages are instrumental to this end. Those who take the time and effort, find that each abstract painting is a distinct work with its own defining characteristics. This is especially true with works by skilled painters, who combine preparation with natural and spontaneous execution. Ryan Fugate is one of those rare abstract painters with genuine skills; he can move from hyper-realism to expressionism, from that to the abstract and back again.
Here we have a collection of Ryan Fugate's latest excursion into abstract painting that expresses moods generated by music, lyrical fields of line, form and color while impressions from Vienna and his other travels also infuse a landscape of deep, fervent spiritual feeling. Kandinsky's writings in Concerning the Spiritual in Art elaborate on his aesthetic theories, and, in particular, present the view that paintings should be looked at as a graphic representation of a mood rather than as a representation of objects. Like Kandinsky, Fugate's abstraction can be defined as a mode of painting music and moods extending beyond the depiction of recognizable objects, having gradually stripped it of mimetic vestiges and where the 'realm of feeling' becomes paramount. In Ryan Fugate's paintings, the distribution of color, sometimes atmospheric and subtle, sometimes with fission and fusion of form contained within the composition, gives rise to a language serving to communicate the artist's contemplation of human destiny and his pondering on the meaning of life. Ryan's efforts have expanded the scope of abstract language, lending a new dialogue to the abstract image. Abstract painting is visual music. Its rhythms demand richness but also terseness and purity. Ryan Fugate's abstract works combine the denseness of oils with the lightness of water.
To compare Fugate to a contemporary artist, it would have to be one of the most complex artists to emerge, the German painter Gerhard Richter, who for thirty years has alternated between photo-based representation and abstraction By working in these traditionally contradictory modes, Fugate, like Richter, has also blurred the territorial boundaries between abstraction and representation and has made ambiguity a positive and central element of his art. We can call this ambiguity or we can call this freedom; freedom from getting stuck or stifled in a singular style. For as long as art has a place in society where it can take us from the everyday and propel us into a state of contemplation and reflection, the hypnotic work of Ryan Fugate will continue to resonate as a compelling source of inspiration, no matter what form or style of expression he turns his spirit toward.
Each abstract artist has his own artistic "genetic code" and history, and these determine his artistic language to an extent. Organically combining his emotions and images with the language of abstract art, Fugate's paintings make extensive use of his media and combine a dignified, confident manner with powerful, unrestrained momentum. In his works we observe an individual's quest for insight into the essence of the chaotic world. This quest has given the colors and forms in his paintings a strong power of communication. The language is honest, uninhibited and profound. Simplification is the highway to a holier intellectual realm, and by increasing the substance of his paintings while eliminating extraneous noise; Ryan has achieved new aesthetic heights.
Philip Rubinov Jacobson, Artist, Author and Educator