Ryan Crotty is a visual artist and abstract painter based in rural Nebraska. He creates non-representational color field paintings rooted in the process intensive traditions of printmaking. Highlighting visual evidence of the canvas support structure, surface imperfections and materiality, he uses translucent paint to generate an interplay of light and color that challenges visual interpretation of a two-dimensional surface.


Crotty’s paintings are composed of transparent layers of acrylic sheathed one atop another over a base of modeling compound on linen. He then pulls the pigment, mixed with a gloss gel medium across the surface with an acrylic blade. This method most ostensibly lends itself to palpably sleek but imperfect colorfields of scrumptious, luminous gradients, endlessly fresh, like each time you look at the ocean. This gesture, however, is the only common denominator amongst the wide range of formalistic imagery in his ever-expanding oeuvre.


Crotty uses unconventional painting techniques to create all-over compositions of color that seem to spread out beyond the edges of the canvas. The resulting process-intensive paintings are an investigation of formal relationships. They are non-representational and forgo all suggestion of figuration.


By applying layers of translucent paint, the artist generates aberrations in color and surface that reveal evidence of the painting as a physical object. The canvas acts as a support for pigment and binding medium that allows color and light to coalesce. Primary colors blend together to create secondary and tertiary minimalist color field paintings. The stark and reductive surfaces have a tendency to be reflective and glow with meditative calm. By exploiting the emotive powers of color, Crotty seeks a pathway to serenity and reflection in these tumultuous times.


Crotty earned his BFA in painting from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and his MFA in painting from Syracuse University. He has exhibited work in Nebraska, as well as New York, Chicago and Berlin. Central to his practice is time and experimentation in his studio in Auburn, NE where he resides with his family.