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Ethan Ryman: New Work 

May 6 - June 11, 2023


exhibition Check List


The Brooklyn Rail, review by Tom McGlynn

Tussle, review by Gwenaël Kelidou

Ethan Ryman and Tom McGlynn

recorded video conversation link here:

Abstraction Squared

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photography Dario Lasagni

exhibition Check List

Press Release:

Cathouse Proper is proud to present 'New Work' by Ethan Ryman, exhibited at 524 Projects, which has been the gallery’s home for the past six years.


This will be the final show for the 2022-2023 season, as well as for the Cathouse FUNeral / Proper gallery project in its current form. For the past six years the space at 524 Projects, with its dramatic entry and high ceilings, has played a major part in determining the shape and scope of our program. It is a fitting end, then, that we mount a targeted installation of new work by the person who designed the gallery space, Ethan Ryman. 


Those of you who have visited Cathouse Proper have surely noted, perhaps in frustration, our inconspicuous entrance, a nondescript metal door often confused with the kitchen door to the restaurant downstairs. Speakeasy-like, one enters immediately into a steep, cement stairwell that curves up past a once exterior brick wall and into a low, narrow, windowless entry. Having navigated the stairs, the entry is two halls connected by a short third, the second hall expanded a few feet wider than the first. These halls snake around, like a three-act play, until you reach the denouement of the soaring main space and its glowing windows. The main gallery feels properly proportioned because it is an almost perfect eighteen by eighteen by eighteen foot cube. On the far wall one is greeted by two rows of three windows, large and shaded; they too are almost symmetrical, yet your perception will most likely assume that they are. On the way through this spatial drama, brief but profound, one passes several locked doors, half of which, if you were allowed to open them, would slide, not swing. 


For 'New Work', this exquisite art exhibition space is punctuated, and occasionally punctured, by a considered arrangement of Ethan Ryman’s most recent photo-sculptural work. “Rabbit-hole” is a term that the artist often uses, and his artwork, like his designed exhibition space, puts you into one. Ryman’s constructions are hermetic and hidden, yet once entered, open and bright, and filled with fascinating conundrums.


The artwork is abstract, or seemingly so, because it is photographs of arranged reliefs of painted planes of wood. The photographs are taken up-close, such that it is difficult to determine the spatial relationships of the colored planes. The planes are painted with a touch, and the photographs are at such a resolution that there seems to be tactility. The mounted photographs are conceived and installed with a special sensitivity to framing, a fascination for Ryman, in that it is the frame that mediates where the reality of the wall ends and the artifice of the art begins. Consequently, the photographs are mounted and displayed in various ways — on shelves, on the floor, in the wall, and hinged — which brings them back into the world of the reliefs, that is to say, the three-dimensional world from which the photo was taken, the cast shadows playing pivotal roles.


Boldly installed to fuse with this artist-designed gallery environment and to enhance the work’s already present visual and experiential paradoxes, with this final Cathouse exhibition, Ethan Ryman’s 'New Work' has found its Proper place. 


Ethan Ryman was born in New York City. He attended Carnegie Mellon University, New School For Social Research / Eugene Lang College, New School Jazz and Contemporary Music Conservatory Program. Prior to making artwork, Ethan engineered albums for Wu-Tang Clan, Masta Ace, Method Man, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, and others. His art career began in 2011 when he was included in Serra Sabuncuoglu's group show, A Place To Which We Can Come, at the St. Cecilia Convent in Greenpoint and was selected for Tomorrow's Stars at the Verge art fair, Brooklyn. Since then he has shown at DC Moore, Fridman Gallery, Locust Projects Miami, and most recently in four iterations of the Brooklyn Rail's Singing in Unison exhibition. His ongoing Instagram piece, @titan_of_leisure, is available online along with @ethanrymanstudio.

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