Description Painting titled Tumbling Down I by Kerry Irvine and created in memory of her sister Kristin Irvine-Ryan. The abstract painting includes various shades of blue and gray acrylic paint, pastel, and oil stick on paper.
Historical Notes Kristin Irvine-Ryan was born in Huntington, Long Island. She lived in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village with her husband, Brendan, whom she married in June 2001. Kristin was a founding member of Secret Smiles, a charity that anonymously delivered gifts to families in need. On September 11, Kristin, a trader at Sandler O’Neill & Partners, was at work on the South Tower’s 104th floor. She was 30 years old.
Curator's Comment Kerry Irvine, an older sister of Kristy Irvine-Ryan, is a practicing artist who lives in Manhattan’s West Village. Following her graduation from college, Kerry pursued a career in fashion, working as a stylist in the advertising department of Ralph Lauren. She simultaneously studied painting at the Art Students League of New York, leaving her full time job at Ralph Lauren in 2001 to become a freelance stylist so that she could focus more time on her own art. She describes her studio work as abstract expressionist in feeling but also informed by the human figure, landscape, and nature, especially the colors and views she grew up with on the North Shore of Long Island.
For Kerry, the impact of Kristy’s death on 9/11 was profound, causing her to cease painting for a number of years because she feared the thoughts that would haunt her during necessary periods of solitude in her studio. Her concentration had seemed to vanish. Eventually, however, she missed the feel of a paint brush and decided to let the “dark voices” from 9/11 guide her creatively rather than control her. Resuming work at a rapid speed, she found her resulting compositions to be lighter as well as more focused and confident. With regained aesthetic assurance, she grew determined to confront her personal loss on 9/11, resulting in the painting Tuesday, followed by the related Tumbling Down I and II, which she retrospectively has described as the “sum of the darkness I had felt for so long.” The work was exhibited in a monthlong pop-up show to mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11. HIDE