SPRINGFIELD, MA – Art for the Soul Gallery will host the exhibit Bigger Than Me: A Solo Exhibit by Ryan Murray with an opening reception on Sunday, December 18, 2022 from 5-7pm at the Tower Square Location at 1500 Main Street, 2nd Floor Springfield, MA 01115. This powerful exhibit will run from December 18, 2022 - February 1, 2023
Through the unflinching medium of spray paint stenciling, Ryan Murray unearths and examines unsettling but important conversations about the stigma of mental illness, with the goal of normalizing the discussion and treatment of mental health in Black communities. To examine Black mental health is to examine the effect of events in both the past and present, socioeconomic factors, how patterns of suffering repeat themselves, and the burden of certain societal expectations. By utilizing repeated symbolism and autobiographical elements, Murray's work not only seeks to address the reality and the reasons that people of color suffer in silence more than their white counterparts, but urges him to navigate his own upbringing as an African-American struggling with mental illness and raised in a predominantly white community. The biggest source of comfort in making this work recently has been realizing that his own situation is not a unique one, that millions of African-Americans struggle for the same reasons, and this work speaks to them as well.
Ryan Murray received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University in 2014 and is currently located in Springfield, Massachusetts. His specialties include printmaking and spray paint stencils. His work starts out as collages of drawing, photography and Internet stock images, which are then edited in Photoshop, printed out and hand-cut in layers. His work centers around unearthing the under-representation of mental health in communities of color. He has exhibited in numerous galleries and shows in western Mass and has several permanent installations in the city of Springfield, including in Union Station and Pynchon Park. He is a recipient of grants from the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Artist Relief and Mass MoCA's Assets 4 Artists.