The white lines of tape on the floor shout CAUTION!, DANGER!, and a low, spraypaint-riddled brick wall straddles the back corner. Ebersmoore is transformed into a construction site to house the distressed and crumbling imagery in Ryan Travis Christian’s post-apocalyptic drawings. “ANTEXPAGNA,” an imaginary word for imaginary worlds, is a celebration of the artist’s surreal personal narratives.
Following Mark Mulroney’s sexually graphic comic-art appropriations (also recently shown at Ebersmoore), Ryan Travis Christian’s drawings reference comic art in a more understated way. The use of pattern and heavy black lines ground the often amorphous, and the graphic zig-zags invoke Charlie Brown’s mournful voice in existential crisis. Examined closely, cartoon hands peek out from amorphous clouds of debris, and melting, frowning faces appear in hazy repetition. Stepping back, the seemingly random explosions in graphite coalesce, and the reason behind the rhythm of the cartoon imagery becomes clear.
Just as the frames of a comic strip imply the passage of time, the stuttering lines in “ANTEXPAGNA” slow down and illuminate a distorted, frame-by-frame sense of perception. We are thrust into the minutiae of destruction, or, perhaps—as a visitor gleefully remarked—Christian’s drawings are our celestial epiphanies immediately followed by a car tire demise. (Julia V. Hendrickson)
“ANTEXPAGNA” shows at Ebersmoore, 213 N Morgan, #3C, (312)772-3021, through March 13.