Stepping Into The Great Unknown

Originally posted in August 2019 as Ryan was getting ready to embark on his 30 day residency at Thread, in Sinthian, Senegal, thanks to the Josef + Anni Albers Foundation


These past few weeks have been filled with emotion as Ryan prepares to head out to his residency at Thread in Senegal, Africa. Pretty much every emotion you can imagine. I guess this is how it feels when you are…..

Stepping Into Joy—and The Great Unknown...Here’s What Cronin Has To Say

 “There’s a noisiness to my work, in a good way, and life here in the U.S. is so noisy. There’s information everywhere you turn, and you’re constantly digesting and interpreting and regurgitating that into whatever you’re creating,” he says. “When you remove all that, and can focus on the primal urge—the immediacy and urgency of work—I feel I’ll create on a level I cannot fully understand until after I come back. That’s the joy, one of the greatest things about a life in art, and why I do it. It’s what it’s all about. I have huge amounts of gratitude for this opportunity.” 

 Ryan has spent the past 25+ years painting exclusively using Rust-Oleum paints on board, but his usual materials may not be available, so his comfort levels will be challenged. And he’s good with that. “I’m into exploring new mediums, and pushing myself in a new direction, and exploring the process of making art. It feels important to shake that up for myself and may ultimately lead to creating art that’s very different than what I’m doing now. I’ll use what’s available and relevant, and am very interested in exploring questions like, ‘What is art? How does it function?”

When Ryan was in Senegal last year, the amount of plastic floating around, the use of disposable materials, and the handmade nature of art, was striking. “It’s not like here, where I can appropriate materials—like grabbing a piece of plywood sitting against a dumpster—because things are valued and used there. It creates a little anxiety, which I am grateful for, and I’m confident my work will end up being a reflection of where I am.”