Ryan Fitzgerald is a photomedia-based artist living and working in Newcastle, NSW. His primary means of image-making is with the wet-plate collodion process, a 19th century method that renders a virtually grainless photograph.
Fitzgerald conceptually addresses the wet-plate medium by considering its ability to capture exquisite detail, its rarity as a non-reproducible work and its value as a handmade object. Fitzgerald seeks to subvert these qualities by photographing subject matter considered confronting; this creates a duality of ugliness embedded within the seductive beauty of the wet plate aesthetic. The wet plate object is now simultaneously grotesque and beautiful. The viewer is left to decide if it is one or the other, neither or both.
Themes of the grotesque and the uncanny hold interest for Fitzgerald; familiar forms that have been taken over, manipulated and rearranged. He endeavours to place the viewer at an uncertain point between discomfort and recognition, skirting the grotesque and the uncanny without wholly residing in one or the other. Other sub-themes that cohere the various subject matter include the re-animation of the lifeless, the hidden, the secret and the internal.