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16 - 21 MAY 2008

Max Ryan: Rodeo

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Rodeo13

'Rodeo #13', canvas print, 50 x 127cm

A unique collection of images portraying the raw power of 'Rodeo'. As an observer, you are witness to the highly charged, testosterone filled interaction of the struggle between man and beast. The images build a tense atmosphere of energy, excitement and movement leading to the inevitable climax.

Max Ryan: rodeo experience

'It was not and never has been my intention to witness a rodeo. My preconceptions of such an event, were that they were cruel; and who could possibly find enjoyment in watching an innocent animal being tormented, charging around frantically trying to remove an alien weight from off its back? Yet my curiosity and the passionate descriptions of a past rodeo voiced by my American hosts led me, with some misgivings, to attend a rodeo in the state of California.

On a hot, dry afternoon, I found myself amongst a sizable crowd awaiting the rodeo. I had no clear expectations of the proceedings but still felt agitated by thoughts for the well being of the animals in the rodeo I was about to witness. Feeling the need to address my anxieties, I approached a cowboy and relayed my fears. I was met with shock and surprise and was passionately assured of the well being of all involved, both the animals and the cowboys. It appeared the cattle are the cowboys’ livelihood. This rodeo was an opportunity to show off the quality of the local herds and for the skills of individuals to be admired.

The rodeo itself was a spectacle for which I was totally unprepared; the patriotism shown as the national anthem was sung at the beginning of the event, the sense of tradition and pride that was evident throughout, the raw power of the participants, man and beast, and ultimately the superiority of the animal.'

Rodeo34

'Rodeo #34', canvas print, 50 x 127cm

More about Max

Max Ryan was born and lived in the Bailiwick of Guernsey until the completion of her A levels, aged 18. A move to mainland Britain facilitated a further 5 years of studies in Bristol, covering art foundation, ceramics and, finally, a degree in film.

Max’s love of travel was indulged to the full over the next few years with tours to the USA, India and much of mainland Europe. The images and book currently produced originated from these early explorations. Still today, Max loves the opportunities a foreign trip affords for those interesting and memorable shots.

On returning to England and after initially working freelance in film, Max decided to follow a more formal career path as a teacher and enrolled on a post graduate course. She has been a successful teacher for the past six years, currently teaching design and technology at Dauntsey’s School, Wiltshire.

Max’s enthusiasm and energy is evident in all she does. This current exhibition and book launch is complemented by both metal and ceramic work: further examples of her creative talent.

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