Ryan Woodring, whose work is at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.
By Jessica Futrell for PF/PCA
This is a biweekly series about art and artists in the region. Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts serves the community through arts education, exhibitions and artist resources.
On March 11, 2011, the Pacific coast of Japan was hit by a massive earthquake -- the largest that country had ever experienced -- which triggered tsunami waves as high as 133 feet, as well as a nuclear accident. A year later, while recovery and rebuilding continue, the final numbers are grim: 15,848 deaths; 26,992 injured; 3,305 missing.
Does it feel as though time has stopped for the people of this region?
That is what Pittsburgh artist Ryan Woodring contemplates in his series of mixed-media paintings, "Drying: Tsunami YouTube Prints," part of the "10 Solo Exhibits" show on view at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in Shadyside.
Each image began as YouTube footage uploaded by someone watching waves devouring the urban shoreline from behind a camera or cell phone.
Mr. Woodring describes his reaction to watching these videos. "I would never be able to understand the devastation brought about by what I was watching," he says. "Not only the enormous loss of life, but also the overwhelming sensation of the time it would take to rebuild houses, relocate, find new jobs, etc." His aim, he explains, was to slow it down. He wanted to create art that would express the time it takes for recovery. Even his process for creating each piece involved slow-motion viewing of each video. He then methodically layered one image upon another.
In this exhibit, Mr. Woodring's evocative paintings are hung against black walls. He says they re-introduce stillness into the manic sequences of those terrifying video images, and to Japan's physical reality -- which has been irrevocably altered.
Each of the images in "Drying: Tsunami YouTube Prints" is paired with a QR code that can be scanned with a smartphone to view the original video.
Mr. Woodring, who is originally from Doylestown, Bucks County, holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in fine arts and French studies. He also works as a freelance animator. To learn more about this artist, go to www.ryanwoodring.com.
For more information about this exhibit or the other solo shows that run through April 22, visit www.pittsburgharts.org.