Ryan Metke is a contemporary painter based in New York City.   The bulk of his work is centered on the classical platforms, primarily painting and sculpture. His work often defies conventional conjecture, extending into the gamut of performance, and installation art.

 

Although Ryan is now based in New York his work is still very much creatively rooted in the context of his southwestern Florida upbringing. He was raised in the coastal region of Fort Myers, Florida along the Caloosahatchee River.  Pristine golf courses contrast with raw indigenous nature forming an unconventional American landscape. Long bridges and roads surround and connect prehistoric wetlands and untouched habitats. Within this, a human patchwork of wealthy gated communities is sewn into a host of pawnshops, wal-marts, and parking lots.  Ryan's work is an almost literal interpretation of this allegory in aerial view, constructing his own visual language--sometimes obvious, sometimes hyper-personal.  


The images within Ryan's paintings are a topographical collage of human senses and symbols.  The profound is pitted against the ordinary, and familiar signage and icons of household branding are given new interpretation. His work is physically large, as he believes the larger the work the more freedom one has for expression.  In his painting, the precision of the intentional are juxtaposed against accidental, mimicking the aspects of human behavior versus natural order.  What the viewer may perceive as primal rants may be, in fact, intimate confessions pitted against a backdrop of sterile iconography.  Other times, child-like scribble and "cave drawings" are handled with precise intent and mature composition.  In the end the intent is for the viewers to interpret for themselves the nature of who they are in a larger context, and how far humans have evolved both personally and as a species.
In Ryan's own words "I have vivid memories of water and rivers from my childhood.  It impacts my work even today as I live an urbane environment. Here in the city, the streets, animals, and foliage find a way of mimicking those in nature.  And I try to bring that vision into my painting with meaningful compositions that tie both together."

 

Ryan received his formal training in painting and sculpture from the Savannah College of Art and design.  After graduating in 2003, he moved to Manhattan where he lived and produced artwork for several years in Chinatown. Ryan currently lives in his studio, housed in an old bathhouse in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  He continues to receive inspiration through his surroundings and thrives on everyday contact with humanity and environment.  Ryan has completed numerous commissions, group, and personal showings, yet carries on with his search for a treasure chest full of booty.