Arts Writing Artist Features

Ryan Pierce

Ryan Pierce. 2012 Individual Artist Fellow, Oregon Arts Commission.

Photo: Sabina Poole

Originally published January, 2012

A weed growing through the cracks in asphalt before a derelict wooden building in Ryan Pierce’s 2010 painting “Gila Bend” offers a microcosm of the artist’s project. His vivid paintings have often depicted a dystopic future wherein wrecked structures of the built world are recolonized by flora and fauna.

Pierce’s work has been shown internationally, and he has an upcoming exhibition at Elizabeth Leach Gallery in Portland in May. Pierce says, “My next solo exhibition, New World Atlas of Weeds and Rags, will be new paintings inspired by the resilience of the natural world. This body of work is formally influenced by botanical illustration, and celebrates the concept of weeds and our own weedy species, seeking to understand our role in the complex and interconnected natural systems of our planet.”

In addition to his own practice, Pierce runs Signal Fire Arts with Amy Harwood. “I plan to spend the fellowship funds on this summer’s programming for Signal Fire. Amy Harwood and I founded Signal Fire in 2008 to facilitate wilderness opportunities for artists from all disciplines. We provide remote residencies and retreats on public lands, highlighting both the restorative power of wild places and the need to protect those same places for future generations. This year’s Outpost residency will take place in the Wallowa Mountains of northeast Oregon, and we will host eight artists, writers, and performers in canvas wall tents. We are also running the Overture Backpacking Retreat, a remote collaborative journey through the ancient forests of Mount Hood National Forest, as well as a canoe trip down Utah’s Green River.”

Pierce received the MFA Grant Award from The Joan Mitchell Foundation and has been awarded residencies at Caldera, Sitka Center for Art & Ecology, and LKV in Norway.

Courtesy of The Oregon Arts Commission.

Artist Credit: Ryan Pierce

Exhibition: Oregon Arts Commission Fellows

Project Website

Oregon Arts Commission