Ryan Maleady (b. 1990) is an self-taught artist from Hoosick Falls, NY. Feeling a deep affiliation with LA conceptualist Robert Heinecken’s notion of the “paraphotagrapher” (akin to a paramedic only being trained well enough to keep you alive until the real doctor gets there), Ryan uses photography more as a means to an end than for its traditional uses. The work, while usually wall hanging or leaning, tends to become sculptural with various media taking precedent based on the conceptual underpinnings of the series. While Ryan does take a substantial amount of his own photos, he pushes re-photography, appropriation, and abstraction to incorporate images from a wide array of topics: His dad’s point and shoot photos, vintage Outdoor Life Magazines, bargain bin books about pregnancy, and the Islamic State’s online propaganda magazine Dabiq. The work tends to center around themes of violence, ownership, nature, americana, and commercialism. His book Death Athletics was published by 8-Ball Zines during their Newsstand Residency at MoMA and can be purchased at Printed Matter in NYC. His work has been shown in group shows throughout NYC where he currently resides.
Like Father, Like Dog, Like God, Like Son
The finished work arrives in three forms: a book of the same name, cement sculptures with images transferred onto them, and c-prints of various sizes.
“Like Father, Like Dog, Like God, Like Son” is the logical continuation of the themes of violence and nature explored in his previous series Death Athletics. There’s also this idea of a different type of appropriation, where instead of taking from magazines, he is taking from a source much closer to home, his dad.
The series began with Ryan taking digital photos from his father’s point and shoot camera archive. His dad is not a photographer. These are just photos he takes while on walks or when scouting for deer. Based off of those photos Ryan started taking his own photos around his childhood house and hometown as a way to re-examine the small town he grew up in. All images were added to the collection and with a quick shuffle the photos lost their definite author. In the end, some of the images were taken by Ryan, some by his dad, and some by nobody (a motion detecting trail camera set up in my backyard).
The sculptures are imbued conceptually with specific materials that resonate with memories of home. The concrete board is supplied as the substrate because of it’s commercial availability at any hardware store and the motor oil used as a glaze to scrub away excess paper, leaves a distinct sheen and scent reminding us of our garages and local auto repair shops. Joint compound is used on certain sculptures to add a gestural layer of abstraction that resembles a stroke of paint but instead conveys another layer of working class materiality.
To view more of Ryan’s work please visit his website.