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Ryan Pierce: Awake Under Vines

April 1, 2021 - May 29, 2021

In a flurry of motion and surrealist animation, this painting captures multiple dizzying happenings at once—potatoes tumbling out of a cardboard box, pink-colored wine spilling out of a broken bottle, a snake wrapping itself around a tree branch, a pitchfork impaling a cake, a wig, a shoe, balloons, so on.

Elizabeth Leach Gallery is pleased to present Awake Under Vines, the latest series of large-scale paintings by Ryan Pierce, featuring artworks that combine an electrified palette with allusions to environmental activism and radical resistance. In these new works, Pierce continues to illuminate relationships between the human and natural world through dynamic dreamlike imagery infused with moral complexity and wonderment.

Amid overgrown foliage or desolate desert landscapes, Pierce includes swirling, floating, dripping clothing, tools anddetritus that form a surrealistic treasure map of discarded objects from celebratory aftermath. In the painting, The Ever-Parting Curtain, hints of figuration domestic life intertwine with wild animals, flowers, trees and twisted branches. The artist’s sharp societal critique synthesizes with his idiosyncratic imagination to invite viewers into evocative and joyful scenes that propose a collective reawakening.

Ryan Pierce received his MFA from California College of the Arts in 2007 and a BFA from Oregon College of Art and Craft in 2003. His work has been shown nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions at Elizabeth Leach Gallery (Portland, OR), Nine Gallery (Portland, OR) and at Lademoen Kunstnerverksteder (Trondheim, Norway). His work has also been shown in group exhibitions at the Schneider Museum of Art (Ashland, OR), STREAM Gallery (New York, NY), the Henry Art Gallery (Seattle, WA) and at Irvine Contemporary (Washington, DC). Pierce’s work resides in the collections of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Seattle, WA), Portland Art Museum (Portland, OR), Hallie Ford Museum of Art (Salem, OR) and the Multnomah County Courthouse (Portland, OR). In 2019, Pierce was selected to participate in the inaugural exhibition of the Portland Art Museum’s regional triennial, the map is not the territory. 


Wheelchair accessible, Service Animals allowed
Event Type
Gallery, Visual Art
Pandemic Info
By Appointment


Elizabeth Leach Gallery
417 NW 9th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209 United States
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