Artist Statement & Bio

Fergus Andrew Ryan is a realist painter born in Dublin in 1948. His finely-detailed paintings have been exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy and the Royal Ulster Academy of Arts, included in the Government of Ireland’s State collection, and featured in International Artist magazine. His portrait Harold was exhibited in the National Gallery of Ireland in the Hennessy Portrait Prize 2016 shortlist. Influenced by the thoughtful works of Andrew Wyeth and contemporary realists, and more recently by the Norwegian painter Odd Nerdrum, the artist has studied with Israel Hershberg in northern Lazio, and spent the spring of 2015 at the Florence Academy of Art. Fergus was formerly an Aer Lingus pilot on long-haul 707 and 747 operations in North America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East. He holds a first class honors degree in theology and biblical studies and an MA from Trinity College Dublin. He is married to Sarah.


As a realist painter I face a certain difficulty: the all-too-obvious tangible presence of the subject. But beyond sight or touch a deeper reality is mediated by the slightest gesture or effect, a trace, the shadows of private thought, or a left-behindness suggesting some absence, some myth revealing a partly-seen truth as in a dusty mirror. The inspiration may be, at its birth, a mere 'whim' or wisp, a wistfulness or yearning, a sense of incompleteness. Yet the place at which artist and viewer first converse is the reality of the visible subject itself. Its phenomena are often minutely explored in my work in anticipation of a glimpse of what endures forever.

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