David Ryan

Associate Professor, Fine Art

Faculty:Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences

School:Cambridge School of Art

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Fine art

Research Supervision:Yes

David Ryan is a painter, video artist, and musician. His work explores issues around sound and image, the histories of modernism, and possibilities of cross-disciplinarity.

Visit David's website

Email: [email protected]


David studied at Liverpool and Coventry polytechnics, and also on a travelling German Scholarship to Hamburg, Lubeck and Berlin. He was awarded his PhD by publication at Anglia Ruskin in 2010. His activities have crossed over the fields of painting, video and music. Recent exhibitions include the touring exhibition Crossing Abstraction at Kunstlerhaus Bethianen, Berlin (2009), and the Kunsthaus and Forum Konkrete Kunst, Erfurt, Germany (2012), After Image (Emerson Gallery, Berlin 2013), Without Edges There Would be No Middle, Pluspace, Coventry, UK (2013) and Making Matters, Platform A, Middlesbrough (2014).

Screenings of David's video works have taken place at Konzerthaus, Berlin, Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatoire, Issue Project Space, New York, Darmstadt Ferienkurse for Neue Musik (2010); V22 Space, London (2012) Palazzo Podesta, Pescia, Italy (2012); Logos, Ghent (2013), Qo2 in Brussels, Belgium (2013) and three films commissioned by the Conservatorio Cesare Pollini, Padova, Italy (2014).

Research interests

  • Interested in the history of painting and its various critiques within modernism
  • Issues within sound and image (video, film, etc) and new ways of exploring these
  • Modernist and experimental music and the arts
  • Politics of avant-garde and post-avant-garde practices

Areas of research supervision

  • Issues in contemporary painting
  • Image and object – the sculptural and the virtual
  • Installation and the installed object
  • Sound in contemporray art and music contexts
  • Expanded painting
  • Deleuzian theories of art


  • PhD by Publication, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, 2010
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher and Further Education (Distinction), Garnet College, London, 1986
  • BA (Hons) Fine Art, Coventry Polytechnic, 1975-78
  • Certificate in Foundation Studies, Liverpool Polytechnic, 1974-75

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • Editorial Board, Journal of Contemporary Painting
  • Peer Reviewer, Journal of Musicological Research and Critical Studies in Improvisation

Selected recent publications


  • Masheck, J. (Ed.), 2014. Mostly Modern, 'Indeterminacy Revisited'. Hard Press: New York.
  • Ryan, D., 2014. Robert Holyhead - Gemalde. Holzwarth Publications, Berlin.
  • Myers, T.R. (Ed.), 2011. Painting, Documents of Contemporary Art, 'Interview with Bernard Frize and David Ryan'. Whitechapel Gallery/MIT Press.
  • Chase, S., Thomas, P. (Eds.), 2010. Changing the System: The Music of Christian Wolff, 'Changing the System: Indeterminacy in the 1970s'. Ashgate Academic Press.

Selected articles /editorials

  • Ryan, D. and Harland, B. (eds), 2017. Painting and Time, special edition of Journal of Contemporary Painting, Intellect.
  • Ryan, D., 2017. 'Earle Brown and the Visual Arts' in Kim R., (ed) Beyond Notation: The Music of Earle Brown, University of Michigan Press.
  • Ryan, D., 2014. 'Adorno and Art', Art Monthly.
  • Ryan, D., 2012. 'On Painting', Art Monthly.
  • Sheil, A. (Ed.), 2012. 'Opera Outside of Itself', Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, Intellect/University of Chicago.
  • Bernard, V., Oksay, S. (Eds.), 2011. CINEJ Cinema Journal, 'Sedimentations: Some Thoughts on Schoenberg's Musical Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene'. University of Pittsburgh.

Selected exhibitions

  • Ryan, D. (curator), 2015. Drawing Towards Sound – Visualising the Sonic. University of Greenwich, London. Numerous participants.
  • Ryan, D. (curator), 2015. At the Point of Gesture with Clem Crosby, Alaena Turner, Andrea Medjesi-Jones, Gabriel Hartley and David Ryan. Wimbledon Space, UAL, London.
  • Vallance, A. and Rogers, C., 2014. Dyad, featuring 'Room Piece' a video/sound piece by Simon Payne and David Ryan. Nightworks, London.
  • Simon, F. (curator), 2014. Making Matters with Andrew Bick, Francesca Simon, Kate Terry, Clem Crosby and David Ryan. Platform A Gallery, Middlesbrough.
  • Sani, N. and Vidolin, A. (curators), 2014. Chemical Free – Three Films and Compositions, with Nicola Sani, Alvise Vidolin, Aldo Orvieto and Roberto Fabricciani. Auditorium Conservatorio Cesare Pollini, Padua, Italy.
  • Staeglich, N. (curator), 2012. Crossing Abstraction, numerous participants, at Forum Konkrete Kunst, Erfurt and Kunsthaus Erfurt, Germany.

Recent presentations and conferences

  • Ryan, D., 2013. Materiality and Recent Painting. Paper given at Issues in Contemporary Painting, Paul Mellon Centre/Tate Britian, London.
  • Ryan, D., 2012. Painting and its Supplementary Dimension. Zabludowicz Collection, London.
  • Ryan, D., 2012. 'Earle Brown and the Visual Arts’. Earle Brown: Beyond Notation, Isabella Gardner Museum/Northeastern University, Boston, USA.
  • Dale, T., George, J. and Ryan, D., 2011. Marginalia – Towards an invisible College. Fine Art Research Unit, Cambridge School of Art at Whitechapel Gallery, London.
  • Ryan, D., 2010). Tracking Sounds – Approaches to Audio-visuality. Paper at AVANCA CINEMA, Portugal.
  • Ryan, D. and Sturgis, D., 2009. Contemporary Painting and History (keynote speaker: ‘One Step at a Time: Painting and Temporality’). Symposium at Tate Britain with Pia Frize, Jan Voerwert, and Katharina Grosse.