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Essay by Jeffrey Ryan
A Journey in Paint
Travelers all know the sweet disorienting feeling of being dropped in a new
city, and the joy of discovering it. Many of us cling to our maps in hand,
guidebooks and hints from those who have come before us. But it is when we put
the map away, that the place begins to reveal its charms. We have to look up,
and begin to use the landmarks around to orient ourselves. Where is the sun?
Check. That cathedral I passed on my right? Check. The river must be near as I
can smell the briny air Ė there it is. In just a few days, this place, which at
first was so alien, can begin to feel as if it is our new town. So too with
painting: every blank canvas dumps the artist (most likely near a train
station), allowing them to figure their way around. Filling up that blank space
is similar to learning a place. Buildings take on meaning, signs - even if in
another language - become another crumb leading us out of our new urban
We start with nothing much, and before long, we have more than we ever thought.
In Fabian Lopezís paintings, he began with simple premises of filling up
canvases with color and form. Paint grew into structures, structures into
cities. But at their core - they are just armatures for painting. The beauty of
painting is that is doesnít need much excuse to get going. Walls, roof, with
some sky? More than enough. More than enough in the right hands would be more
appropriate. We look at these works like the travelers in town Ė we donít know
what their purpose might be, and we donít really know where we are. But the
artist is kind enough to give us plenty to look at Ė skies of blues, grays, and
pinks, grounds the same save the occasional verdant carpet.
With all the images bombarding our retinas daily, only painting allows us the
time to slow down and the luxury of ambiguity to let us determine what we are
seeing. Because it is in this alchemy of painting - where a box can become a
house, a pile of shanties can become a city, and these in turn can morph right
back into abstraction. Like the traveler wandering about a city, built up over
the ancient bones and buildings, we viewers of paintings forge our way towards
The bedrock of painting, like the foundation of a city, is built up of those who
care enough to stick around; the paintings that effect us, mixing with the lives
we lead; and the things we see, in our eyes and heads. Where these paintings are
going we know not, but this journey in paint is what counts. Enjoy the ride.
2008-09 MFA Candidate in Painting Tyler School of Art - Temple University
2007-08 MFA Candidate in Painting Tyler School of Art- Temple University: Rome,
2002-07 BFA Painting and Drawing, California State University of Long Beach
2008 Everyone but Gus, Temple University Gallery, Rome, Italy
2007 Mind Your Pís and Dís, I-5 Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.
2006 BFA Senior Thesis Exhibition, Gatov Gallery, Long Beach, CA.
2006 Chromaniacs, LA Art Space, Culver City, CA.
2006 Insights, University Art Museum (CSU Long Beach), Long Beach, CA.
2006 BFA Senior Show, Gatov Gallery, Long Beach, CA.
2005 Another Year in L.A, Los Angeles, CA.
2005 Essence, Basswerks Studio & Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.
2005 Apocalypse, Werby Gallery, Long Beach, CA
Honors / Awards
2007-09 Future Faculty Fellowship, Tyler School of Art, Elkins Park, PA.
2006 Wasteland, Gatov Gallery, Long Beach, CA.
2005 Thatís How We Roll , Los Angeles (Chinatown), CA.
2005 Rupture, Gatov Gallery, Long Beach, CA.
oil on canvas
oil on canvas