Ryan Maleady (b. 1990) is a 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.
“No Pussyfooting” is a series involving sheet metal sculptures, an 82-page photobook, and digital c-prints. The project started with Ryan traveling to photograph a demolition derby in upstate New York to document a subculture not often represented in art. Interested in this idea of the drivers as non-artists unknowingly making art, Ryan examined the aesthetics of the cars which they spray painted, painted and drew on, advertised with hyper-local sponsors , and customized within the rules and regulations; windows removed, new holes carved into sheet metal sometimes for functional reasons and sometimes for idiosyncratic style, objects like hoses and deer antlers glued on as accessories. This was art-making be it conscious or not. The event itself is pure nihilism; cars, trucks, and vans crashing into each other, sheet metal screeching against more sheet metal, engines catching on fire, celebration theatrics, and crowds cheering it all on. Ryan wanted to showcase the reckless abandon of the events while adding his own layer of borrowed formal cues and aesthetics from the driver’s, the car’s, and the event. The final images were made by first getting the single images printed for the book but not bound. Ryan then added the layers of spray paint, acrylic paint, dirt, mud, and motor oil directly onto each page usually referencing colors, gestures, and objects in the original photo. The final altered photos were then re-photographed outside in the sun, further abstracting the original photo and adding new texture and saturation to the image.
To view more of Ryan’s work please visit his website.