Abbey Ryan 

Abbey Ryan

Assistant Professor
of Art and Design

Abbey Ryan received her B.F.A. in Painting and B.A. in Scientific Illustration from Arcadia University in 2003 and her M.F.A. in Painting from Hunter College, City University of New York in 2007. In addition, she studied painting at the Art Students League of New York, as well as medical and biological illustration at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine.At Arcadia, Abbey teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in drawing and painting.

Abbey’s painting work has been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, Seth Godin's Linchpin: Are You Indispensible?,, FOX 29's Good Day Philadelphia, WYBCX Yale Radio, and Brainard Carey’s Making It In The Art World. Through her blog, Abbey's work is in over seven hundred private and public collections all over the world.

Research Interests

My current body of works on paper relates to the “A Painting a Day” project that I began in 2007. Engaging in this ritual means that I spend many hours investigating a singular object positioned in space so that its context is not evident. The space itself becomes inert, although the light and atmosphere of that space are ultimately what make the painting.

This experience has led me to explore the broader conceptual and visual relationship between figure and ground, contour and space. I have simplified the composition and tone of my ink paintings, and discovered shapes that are, to me, reminiscent of a spiritual icon. The shapes are repeated and “averaged”; often, this distillation makes the shapes not visually distinct enough to define.

In the past, my work has been rooted in an awareness of visual experience—in what is focal and peripheral. My background in science fuels my curiosity about vision both from a physiological as well as philosophical viewpoint. More specifically, my experiences with scientific illustration inform my interest in the notions of average and stereopsis (depth perception). Together, these affect the conceptual nature of my work as much as my process.

Within each of my paintings, every layer of washed ink is the same value and color, as it comes from a single source. Multiple contours and value variations result from slightly shifting layers of an image. In my experience, this visual result is akin to the phenomenon of studying a still life object until it glows out of focus.

Selected Exhibitions

  • Tercera Gallery, Palo Alto, CA
  • Artists Space, New York, NY
  • Mason Murer Fine Art, Atlanta, GA
  • Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, AL
  • Pratt Institute, Munson-Williams-Proctor, Utica, NY
  • Mt. Airy Contemporary Artists Space, Philadelphia, PA
  • Gleason Fine Art, Portland, ME
  • Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, PA
  • Elliott Fouts Gallery, Sacramento, CA
  • Rosenfeld Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
  • Monmouth Museum, Lincroft, NJ
  • Ice Box Projects Space, Philadelphia, PA
  • Blutenweiss Gallery, Berlin, Germany
  • Noyes Museum of Art, Oceanville, NJ

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