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Burke Artist Works in Abstract

Burke artist Beverly Ryan is inspired by the abstract when she paints, using recurring themes such as the chalice, the dancer and houses obscurely blended in her works.

As she stood by one of the larger paintings in her Torpedo Factory studio in Old Town Alexandria, Ryan explained her motivations.

"I'm sort of an expressionist. Most of my stuff is from my imagination. If I did a landscape, it would be an imaginary landscape. I call this 'Perpetual Motion,'" pointing to the work on the wall. "There's a dancing figure I use quite a bit," she said.

Influences to her work include Matisse, Picasso and Kitaj.

"I have some forms that reoccur," she said.

Ryan was raised in Pennsylvania but lived in West Springfield from 1981-86 and then Burke, where she lives now. She has a daughter who graduated from Lake Braddock Secondary School in 1997. Ryan painted and experimented with other art mediums while working in the audiology field with the hearing-impaired, until she decided to get serious about art in 1994.

"When I got to a certain age, I decided if I was going to specialize in this, I better get started," she said.

She's done shows with the Springfield Art Guild and the Fairfax Art Guild in the past, but lately has been concentrating on her studio in the Torpedo Factory, where she works four days a week. This is required for artists in the Torpedo Factory. She likes the creative atmosphere.

"It gives artists an opportunity to work near other artists and allows people to see the process," she said.

Another Torpedo Factory person, Susan Miller, appreciates the artist atmosphere from her angle at the gift kiosk downstairs.

"It's a creative atmosphere. It gives them [artists] a chance to work and feed off the other artists," Miller said.

Ryan shares her studio on the third floor, overlooking Union Street, with fellow painter Jackie Hamilton, who specializes in watercolor scenes done in the sense of realism. Ryan's paintings are on one side of the wall, while Hamilton's are on the other. They are opposite in style, as well. While Ryan usually sees people interested in one certain genre, there are exceptions.

"Every now and then, we'll get somebody that likes both," she said.

Jennifer Holmes was showing Baltimore resident Allison Purvis the variations in art mediums around the Torpedo Factory.

"It's an interesting contrast when you can go in one studio and see a stark contrast," she said.

Ryan is doing a solo show for the first time on Jan. 30 through Feb. 24 in the Studio Gallery at 2108 R St. in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with "First Friday" gallery openings around Dupont Circle. Gallery hours are Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Her works can also be seen at WWW.studiogllerydc.com.