Kathleen Ryan: Cultivator

Black and white bowling balls are linked with brass hardware to create strands of monochromatic beads, white on top of black.

Kathleen Ryan, Galaxie 300, 2019, Black and white bowling balls, brass. Approximately 8.5 x 8.5 x 600-1,146 in. Installation view, MIT List Visual Arts Center, 2019. Photograph by Peter Harris Studio. Image courtesy of the artist and MIT List Visual Arts Center. © Kathleen Ryan

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Kathleen Ryan
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New York-based Kathleen Ryan’s work in sculpture is distinguished by her virtuosic grasp of materials, ranging from poured concrete, cast iron, carved marble, and precious stones, to found objects such as granite machine-mount blocks or bowling balls.

Ryan engages with formal sculptural concerns such as volume, weight, pressure, balance, and line, while subtly alluding to the materials’ historical and economic underpinnings, along with frequent references to the human body and classical motifs. Many of her recent works were cast at a nearly defunct iron foundry in Pennsylvania, and in part engage with a declining manufacturing industry that has shaped the economic and social trajectory of communities across the United States. Varying from poetic to deadpan, Ryan’s works are rendered effortlessly light and delicate in spite of their massive industrial materials and manifest weight. Kathleen Ryan: Cultivator is the artist’s North American institutional premiere and will include a number of new works.

Kathleen Ryan (b. 1984, Santa Monica) lives and works in New York. Solo exhibitions of her work have been mounted at Cc Foundation, Shanghai; Arsenal, New York; Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Vienna; Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles; and Josh Lilley, London. Her work has been featured in group exhibitions at Simon Lee Gallery, New York; Wentrup Gallery, Berlin; The Pit, Los Angeles; Various Small Fires, Los Angeles; and many others. She holds an MFA degree from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Kathleen Ryan: Cultivator is organized by Henriette Huldisch, Director of Exhibitions & Curator, MIT List Visual Arts Center.


Exhibitions at the List Center are made possible with the support of Fotene Demoulas & Tom Coté, Audrey & James Foster, Idee German-Schoenheimer, Joyce Linde, Jane & Neil Pappalardo, Cynthia & John Reed, and Terry & Rick Stone. In-kind media sponsorship provided by 90.9 WBUR.  Additional support for the List Center presentation of Kathleen Ryan: Cultivator was generously provided by the Henry Moore Foundation and Josh Lilley, London.

General operating support is provided by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the Council for the Arts at MIT; Philip S. Khoury, Associate Provost at MIT; the MIT School of Architecture + Planning; the Mass Cultural Council; and many generous individual donors. The Advisory Committee Members of the List Visual Arts Center are gratefully acknowledged.