Featured Painting: Haircut

Frank Ryan Artist

oil on linen
72 x 96 inches

The period of time after graduation from school was filled with transition and reflection. I had recently moved to a different part of town and was getting acquainted with a new community. I turned towards my immediate surroundings for inspiration.

I often think about how we end up where we are; the geographic and cultural situatedness of our circumstances. I wondered how places become embedded with experience and if my paintings could embody this contextual awareness. I was interested in the narrative possibilities of how notions of place in time are distinguished not only by extraordinary events, but by the ordinary ones.

Painted in 2007, Haircut was featured in my first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, Epoch. Many of the pieces in the show were painted from video footage that I recorded while walking my dog around the neighborhood.

Haircut was based on something seen in a glimpse- a woman cutting the hair of an older man in a driveway. The intimacy of the scene struck me and I immediately returned with my video camera.

I filmed the scene for the next six seconds. A child, perhaps the woman’s daughter, walked towards me then stopped. Upon realizing I was a stranger, she retreated to the safety of her family. Her movements, faintly perceptible, are implied by a ghost-like stain on the canvas.

This painting is meant to document an event as much as to commemorate the actions of everyday people.