Abbey Ryan at St. Bonaventure University

Abbey Ryan’s show of oil paintings, “the light/the shade,” is open at St. Bonaventure University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts Front Gallery until June 2.

ST. BONAVENTURE — New art works at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts Front Gallery display the care and attention of an authentic oil painter.

Abbey Ryan’s one-a-day paintings from Patmos, Greece, depict the subtle capture of sunlight and its reflections on fruit, olives, the countryside, and the sea of the Greek coast. The show on St. Bonaventure University’s campus, “the light/the shade” must be seen by any appreciator of painting and poetry.

I had the pleasure of attending Abbey Ryan’s gallery talk on April 11. She explained the importance of being herself; aspiring for authenticity over the ever-present pressure to be innovative and one-of-a-kind. She asks what she can contribute to the long tradition of painting by just being herself, a woman in the 21st century.

Ryan’s works are not purely representational, but reflect the natural movement of light and contain expressive gesture — a condition of her love for the medium of oil and an attempt to avoid the madness of hyper-realism.

She treats her daily practice of painting as an opportunity to center and focus. She brings to her work a meditative perspective that translates through her hand. By bringing herself to that central point of mind, Ryan presents a kind of reality that is sensitive and sentimental.

Ryan works diligently to capture the subjective moment of light, that feeling the second the light crosses your eyes. She works this magic into landscapes and still lifes.

For her show, Ryan chose accompanying poetry “graffiti” by Robert Lax, a poet originally from Olean. She presents these two art forms, and wishes that the viewer takes away a “third thing.” The third thing is our own emotional response; revival of memory or inspiration.

Ryan said she feels like a beginner every time she sits in front of a blank canvas, but to the viewer she is no beginner. She is a monk of the moment, a student of the impossible and fleeting and a creator of beauty.

Take some time to see her still lives, her depictions of sunlight and especially “sunset in kastelli” on display until June 2.

For more information on Abbey Ryan visit her website at