Although Ryan Whelan lives in Oakland, CA and is surrounded by several forests, plenty of ocean, and lots of wildlife, he feels far removed from a natural life. He has to remind himself of the magic of nature through his paintings: how the sun must feel to the plants, the energy that flows through the trees, or the prism of colors found on a fresh harvest of fruit. It's these kinds of simple, everyday moments in nature that remind him that we are all more than what we can see. Everything is energy, everyone is radiating, and nothing is ordinary.
At the root of Provisions is the transformative experience of food. In its original conception, artists Liz Hernández and Ryan Whelan sought to examine the disruptive power of providing for those you love, to slow down a busy life and make a meal. Integral to that examination are the places that give us provisions. Hernández and Whelan consider the unexamined journey of our food, with landmarks like roadside signs and market stalls, fields and baskets, on its way to the kitchen. The humble food object is the land, the sun, the farmer, the field, the market, the knife, the plate; it contains the potential to love, to grow, to transform.
Whelan’s work considers the primary role of the land and those who work it. The source of our transformative experiences with food is the place it comes from. Whelan takes particular interest in roadside signs, which, in his interpretation, offer the sensory experience of seasonal produce in color, shape, word, and image. Whelan further examines the limitless possibilities of the landscape, which waits to transform at the will of the farmer.
Hernández and Whelan are an artistic partnership based in Oakland, CA, linked by aesthetic sensibility and practice. Together they offer the transformative experience of Provisions.