Ryan Syrell gathers inspiration for his synesthetic impressions from memories that amplify subtle exchanges in everyday life. Minor instances such as identifying flowers, sharing meals, hearing an ecstatic chorus of blackbirds, or caring for plants inform his work and highlight the value and connectivity of these special in-between moments. Syrell’s compositions investigate the spaces between language and sensation, between object and connotation, in essence disrupting expected meanings and the absolute, exposing the boundlessness of our surroundings. In his studio practice, Syrell begins with a visceral memory, sensory or visual in nature, layering timelines or developing forms to produce his vibrant, striking compositions.
Ryan Syrell earned his BFA in Painting and Drawing from SUNY Purchase in 2006, and went on to complete his MFA in Painting and Printmaking from VCU in 2017. He has exhibited regularly in solo and group capacities since 2006 in the United States. Syrell taught at VCU in various capacities from 2016 to 2020. He has been the recipient of various awards and grants, including the Maryland State Arts Council Artist Grant (2014 & 2021), Bethesda Painting Awards finalist (2021), VCUarts Graduate Research Grant (2016-2017), the David Wurtzel Travel Grant to Florence, Italy (2016), and was a Sondheim Prize Finalist in 2015. Ryan Syrell lives and works in New York City.