Liza Ryan was born in Norfolk, Virginia. Her mother, Mina Ryan, was a poet whose influence appears throughout Ryan’s work and education. In 1987, Ryan received a BA in English literature from Dartmouth College. Following graduation, Ryan worked as an editor at San Francisco Magazine while taking classes at the Art Institute of San Francisco. She later moved to Los Angeles to pursue an MFA in Photography at California State University, Fullerton. While in graduate school, literature continued to be an influence and several consistent themes emerged in her work: connectivity with the natural world, and questioning boundaries and hierarchies. Her work/practice continues to be investigative and research-driven. Always starting with the photographic process, Ryan then blends both the media she uses and the subjects she studies to produce her hybridized work.
Ryan’s work has been exhibited widely, including at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, HI; The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; The Miami Art Museum, FL; The J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA; The Biennale of Sydney, Australia; and the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA. Ryan's work is held in permanent collections such as The J.Paul Getty Museum, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA, and The Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France; among others. Several catalogs and three monographs on Ryan’s work have been published.
Liza Ryan lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.