Ursula von Rydingsvard’s massive sculptures reveal the mark of the human hand, resembling wooden bowls, tools and walls that seem to echo the artist’s family heritage in preindustrial Poland in the years before the Second World War. She spent her childhood in Nazi labour camps and post-war refugee camps, and her painful early memories imbue her work with great emotional power.
Ursula von Rydingsvard produces tall cedar-wood structures, creating a complex network of individual beams, shaped by sharp-edged, lyrical cutting and glued together to form sensuous puzzle-like surfaces...
She has been awarded numerous prizes, including a Joan Mitchell Prize (1997), an Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1994), and grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (1983) and the National Endowment for the Arts (1979, 1986). She was also awarded the International Association of Art Critics’ prize in 1992 and 2000.
She has exhibited at Madison Square Park, New York (2006), the Neuberger Museum, the State University of New York (2002) and Storm King Art Center (1992). Ursula von Rydingsvard lives and works in New York.
Ursula VON RYDINGSVARD
Ursula von Rydingsvard was born in Deensen, Germany, in 1942. She obtained a BA and an MA from the University of Miami, Coral Gables (1965), an MFA from the University of Columbia (1975) and an honorary doctorate from Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore (1991).
A well-known sculptor, she has lived and worked in Brooklyn, New York, for 30 years. After graduating from the University of Columbia in 1975, she started working with what was to become her preferred material: cedar wood.
She is best known for her large-scale, often monumental sculptures, fashioned from beams of cedar that she cuts up and reassembles, covering them with powdered graphite. She deliberately uses crushed beams of varying lengths.
"These abstract shapes, like signatures, refer to things in the real world, revealing the mark of the human hand while calling natural shapes and forces to mind. Shapes typically include simple vases and bowls. Many are suggestive of tools or other artefacts such as shovels, spoons or fences, or allude to primitive dwellings, to geological formations, to landscape or the body”.