Series depicting mental health struggle wins top honors at 2020 Student Art Show

Erin Ryan and her piece "Robyn's Egg Blue"

The layered work begins with a deep coat of cyanotype manipulated with sunlight and tannic acid–fading the dark background into the light. Collage, gouache, and drawing elements are added creating intricately detailed imagery through perceived chaos. The artist’s tears became part of the works as the turmoil of her soul laid bare on the 12 sheets of the series. 

“It’s about my struggle with mental health and depression–and if we’re being honest, it’s about suicide,” said Erin Ryan, studio art major. 

Ryan’s series of 12 mixed media pieces titled “Robyn’s Egg Blue” won Best in Show at the 2020 Student Art Show. The juried exhibition had 136 submissions in which 58 pieces were accepted into the show to be judged. As the winner, she received the Edward O. Lund Foundation award for $500.

The robin in the piece is a symbol of Ryan’s mother, whose name is Robyn. Ryan explained that the reason she never acted on her suicidal impulses was because of the love she had for her. 

“I could never do that to her,” Ryan said. “So, this bird is a recurring image in these to symbolize that.”

Ryan will graduate with a B.A. in Studio Art, with emphasis in painting and drawing, at the end of the Fall 2019 semester. She plans to apply to MFA programs for the Fall of 2020.

Other awards in the Student Art Show include:

Ceramics

1st Place: “Central American Exodus” by Eduardo Fabian
1st Place: “Central American Exodus” by Eduardo Fabian
2nd Place: “Soquili” by Shirin Rawlss
2nd Place: “Soquili” by Shirin Rawlss

Sculpture

“Meat Hook” by Micheal Favagrossa
“Meat Hook” by Micheal Favagrossa

Painting

“Stalker” by Lisa Spoors
“Stalker” by Lisa Spoors

Drawing

1st Place: “Consider the Sparrow” by Hanna Ragsdale
1st Place: “Consider the Sparrow” by Hanna Ragsdale
2nd Place: “Tomb” by Jaime Crews
2nd Place: “Tomb” by Jaime Crews

Graphic Design/Digital

“New York through a Broken Window” by Nancy Caudillo
“New York through a Broken Window” by Nancy Caudillo

Posted by

Fresno State College of Arts and Humanities Communication Specialist

One thought on “Series depicting mental health struggle wins top honors at 2020 Student Art Show

  1. Erin, love saved my life also I am glad we are both still here to know the light of that love. I am thankful for Sophie & RJ, my fur children. The strength of your work is you put your humanity into your work..
    Chester A. Miszewicz

    Like

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