ART & DESIGN

Ryan Estep: Star Material

This young artist is digging deep and stirring things up.


“The studio is a room of problems,” Ryan Estep says. And many of them seem to be of his own creation. The 34-year-old artist likes to complicate the making of his shadowy abstract paintings by using difficult materials and processes. He sterilizes soil in an industrial kiln before sifting it through a metal screen onto canvases coated with glue in a careful Ben-Day dot pattern—which he ends up smearing when he removes the screen. Or he will paint the edges of a large canvas with a mixture of black pigment and Lidocaine, a skin-numbing agent that makes his hands fumble as he attempts to re-stretch the wet canvas on its frame. Estep might be eschewing traditional methods of painting, but it’s not necessarily to advance some new school of thought—he is just “expressing physical gestures in an honest way,” he says. The messiness of his work, he adds, reflects “how much I hate what I’m doing at the moment.” This inimical attitude belies Estep’s dedication to his calling: Currently, he is raising a Meyer lemon tree in his Brooklyn studio, “pollinating” it using a paintbrush with greater care than the bees that might otherwise do the job. He wants to mix pollen and encaustic to make drawings, and plans to use lemon trees and their fruit in new projects. And yet, despite his apparent devotion to the tree, which looks to be thriving, Estep claims, “I don’t have any connection to anything I make.”

Installation view of Untitled Iron Oxide, Soap, Lemons, 2014. Courtesy of Ellis King Gallery, Dublin.

Star Material

“Everyone who really responds to the work talks about playing with sand at the beach.” -Jennifer Guidi. Read more from this up-and-coming artist here. Photograph by Ramona Trent.

Guidi’s Untitled (Field #10 Black & White), 2014. Courtesy of artist.

“The art objects have a sort of aliveness to them. They change the sonics of the room, and it maybe becomes a little more immersive.” -Kevin Beasley. Read more from this up-and-coming artist here.

Photographer: Biel Parklee

Beasley’s Katies’, 2014. Courtesy of Jen Vong.

“No rules,” says Lena Henke of her practice. “For fun, I work.” Read more from this up-and-coming artist here.

Photographer: Biel Parklee

Installation view of Henke’s Geburt und Familie, 2013. Courtesy of artist and Galerie Parisa Kind.

“Things overlap. It’s just a fact of existence.” -Sebastian Black. Read more from this up-and-coming artist here.

Sebastian Black’s Big Green, 2013. Courtesy of Clearing gallery.

Installation view of Black’s Period Piece (Partition) 2 and Edible Manhattan, 2013. Courtesy of Clearing gallery.

“I don’t have any connection to anything I make.” -Ryan Estep. Read more from this up-and-coming artist here.

Courtesy of the artist.

Installation view of Untitled Iron Oxide, Soap, Lemons, 2014. Courtesy of Ellis King Gallery, Dublin.

“The place where the thing gets fucked up—that’s the moment of beauty.” – Will Boone. Read more from this up-and-coming artist here.

Portrait by Stephanie Boone.

Boone’s Soldier, 2014. Courtesy of the artist and Karma.

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