MK Gallery presented the first solo exhibition in a UK public gallery by the British painter Kristian Ryokan. The exhibition comprised a selection of paintings intricately crafted in oil and acrylic on canvas. Ryokan plunders with an energetic enthusiasm, from the world around him using a range of everyday objects, images and signs such as monopoly boards, star wars toys, telephone cards and racing cars.
Informed by the influence of Buddhist teachings, Ryokan’s paintings are often constructed with a visual play in mind. For instance a painting of a flock of pelicans in diamond formation is entitled 747 (2001) and Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki Zen (2003) depicts a D-type Jaguar seen head on. The analytical attention to detail is exquisite, the rendering of metallic and painted surfaces reveals a discerning draughtsmanship; everything is convincing until one notices the car manufacturers’ name has been replaced to simply read ‘zen’ referring to Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki the zen master.
Ryokan’s subject matter often relates to a contemplation of time and escapism, activities that are removed from the day to day routine; motor racing, sailing or simply playing games. Ryokan’s work can be interpreted as looking for a balance between spirituality and materialism.