Born 1980, Norwich, NY, USA
Ryan Burghard’s practice begins by investigating the materiality of the mundane. He is interested in how seemingly simple imagery and objects accrue meaning, therefore transitioning into signs, symbols, and signifiers. This moment of shifting identity is at the core of his practice. Burghard references Speculative Realism along with Baudrillard’s treatise Simulacra and Simulation, which examines how objects gain value and the position enabling meaning to be generated. Through this lens, meaning is derived from relationships.
Weaving through a variety of mediums, forms, and techniques, the artist wants the viewer to cross-examine and reflect on objects we often ignore in our everyday lives. By altering artifacts, using an unconventional medium shift or by manipulating a composition, our experience with what is familiar changes. We find humor in clever juxtapositions: an image of a row of seated, smiling men in suits echoes the straight, repetitive lines found in an advertisement for pantyhose. Burghard’s style is crystallized when we recognize the strict parameters of their execution: the artist’s touch is nearly invisible. He depends on found objects and pre-existing materials to communicate. Uncanny resemblances are found in human gesture and the repetition of forms. Through these resemblances, unrelated imagery can marry.
In November 2015, CYDONIA will present Burghard’s fourth major exhibition entitled Where You End and I Begin: Relational Dialectics. The multi-media show examines the phenomenological, social, emotional and physical elements within relationships as a way of understanding the condition of identity. When a union is formed, at what point does an individual identity end and another begin? When we understand each other through our bonds, what exists in these bonds? Is it difference or similarity that defines identity?
Burghard holds an MA and MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has had numerous exhibitions throughout the United States and has exhibited internationally in Canada and Australia.
The artist lives and works in Portland, Oregon.