Nicole Renee Ryan


Nicole Renee Ryan's paintings evoke distant landscapes rooted in the ephemeral nature of memory—memories of memories. Her artwork blends the real with the unreal, capturing emotionally charged, ambiguous imagery through a unique interplay of half-realistic and half-abstract shapes in vivid colors. These painted worlds are as defined by what is missing as by what is present.

Influenced by artists such as J.M.W. Turner, known for his expressive colorizations and imaginative landscapes, and Gerhard Richter, famed for his ability to blur the lines between realism and abstraction, Ryan masterfully blurs out details in her paintings. This deliberate vagueness invites the audience to fill in their own details, encouraging them to imagine themselves within her softly unfocused subjects. She aims for the suggested history of her images to resonate as the viewer’s own history.

Ryan’s landscapes are dynamic, becoming their own active subjects. They play, move, and break away, allowing imagination to complete the almost lost memory. Her use of shape, line, texture, and color strips away conventional reality, suggesting a sense of magic and otherworldliness in ordinary places. The ethereal quality of her landscapes, reminiscent of the dreamlike essence found in the works of artists like Marc Chagall, dances between reality and abstraction, memory and imagination.

A contemporary watercolorist, oil painter, and muralist from Mercer PA, Ryan attended Washington and Jefferson College and graduated cum laude with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Professional Writing. She has been awarded a residency at the New York Student’s League at Vytacil, a fellowship at VCCA, and was nominated for Pittsburgh's 2016 "Emerging Artist of the Year" by the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. She was also featured in the newly released book of watercolors, Splash 15: Texture, by North Light Books. Most recently, her artwork has been exhibited at Superfine! Art Fair NYC, Architectural Digest NYC, Gallery Oh! Chicago, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Chautauqua Institute of Art NY, and the Heinz History Museum in Pittsburgh. BoxHeart also exhibited her paintings at the Affordable Art Fair in New York City and Aqua Art Miami Beach in 2018.

portfolio.jpg View images from Nicole Renee Ryan's 2021 exhibition, Experiments in Reality.