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Courtesy of Gretchen Ryan and Fred Torres Collaborations
"I feel excited and happy, delighted, wonderful, confident, lovely, poised, beautiful and so much more. Being a Queen has made me feel like I am special. Your thoughts determine what you want, your actions determine what you get." Anna Randolph, 2006 Tennessee Supreme Beauty
Fred Torres Collaborations is proud to present Little Pretty, an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Los Angeles based artist Gretchen Ryan.
For her first New York exhibition, Gretchen Ryan has created new portraits of child beauty pageant contestants. Ryan started her career by painting her friend's children, and in search of new models began frequenting children's beauty pageants. Over the years, Ryan has developed close relationships with her models, and their families, often painting the same girl throughout her childhood. Ryan approaches her lushly layered canvases with deep respect for her models, and uses traditional portraiture techniques to capture golden ringlets, sparkling rhinestones, layers of tulle, and their bright, competitive spirits. Ryan's paintings reflect society's obsession with youth and beauty, and have quickly become a favorite of Hollywood celebrity elite.
Going beyond straightforward portraiture, Ryan's work is informed by personal and cultural influences including her dedication to animal rights, 18th century British portraiture, Coast to Coast radio shows, nature publications, and children's fairy tale illustrations. Ryan's portraits successfully combine personal and societal subtext with the purity and beauty of youth.
Ryan's lifelong passion for visual expression has only been enriched by a car accident suffered as a teenager. The experience of being driven off a mountain cliff and the sequelae continue to inform her work. Ryan's portraits are both graceful and complex in their subject matter, incorporating themes of human vulnerability, beauty in the absence of normality, and fixation on the perfection of youth.(read less)
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