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Mark Ryden came to preeminence in the 1990s during a time when many artists, critics and collectors were quietly championing a return to the art of painting. With his masterful technique and disquieting content, Ryden quickly became one of the leaders of this movement on the West Coast.
Upon first glance Ryden's work seems to mirror the Surrealists' fascination with the subconscious and collective memories. However, Ryden transcends the initial Surrealists' strategies by consciously choosing subject matter loaded with cultural connotation. His dewy vixens, cuddly plush pets, alchemical symbols, religious emblems, primordial landscapes and slabs of meat challenge his audience not necessarily with their own oddity but with the introduction of their soothing cultural familiarity into unsettling circumstances.
Viewers are initially drawn in by the comforting beauty of Ryden's pop-culture references, then challenged by their circumstances, and finally transported to the artist's final intent -- a world where creatures speak from a place of childlike honesty about the state of mankind and our relationships with ourselves, each other and our past. Clearly infused with classical references, Ryden's work is not only inspired by recent history, but also the works of past masters. He counts among his influences Bosch, Bruegel and Ingres with generous nods to Bouguereau and Italian and Spanish religious painting.
Over the past decade, this marriage of accessibility, craftsmanship and technique with social relevance, emotional resonance and cultural reference has catapulted Ryden beyond his roots and to the attention of museums, critics and serious collectors. Ryden’s work has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide, including a recent museum retrospective "Wondertoonel" at the Frye Museum of Art in Seattle and the Pasadena Museum of California Art.
Mark Ryden was born in Medford, Oregon. He received a BFA in 1987 from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles where he paints slowly and happily amidst his countless collections of trinkets, statues, skeletons, books, paintings and antique toys.
SELECT RECENT SOLO EXHIBITIONS:
2012 'Mark Ryden: The Tree Show', Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2010 'The Artist's Museum' (group exhibition), Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA), Los Angeles, CA 'Mark Ryden: The Gay 90's', Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, NY
2009 'NUDES!' (group exhibition), Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, NY 'Mark Ryden: The Snow Yak Show', Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
2008 'In the Land of Retinal Delights: The Juxtapoz Factor' (group exhibition), Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, CA
2007 'The Last Seduction - A Welcome Surrender to Beauty' (group exhibition), Carrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago, IL 'Mark Ryden: The Tree Show', Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2006 'Drawn to Expression (group exhibition)', Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA
2005 'Mark Ryden: Wondertoonel', Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA 'Au Pays de Merveilles (group exhibition)', Galerie Magda Danysz, Paris, France
2004 'Mark Ryden: Wondertoonel', Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA
2003 'Mark Ryden: Blood', Earl McGrath Gallery, New York, NY 'Mark Ryden: Blood', Earl McGrath Gallery, Los Angeles, CA 'Mark Ryden: Insalta Mista', Mondo Bizzarro Gallery, Bologna, Italy
2002 'Mark Ryden: Bunnies and Bees', Grand Central Art Center, Santa Ana, CA
2001 'Mark Ryden: Bunnies and Bees', Earl McGrath Gallery, Los Angeles, CA 'Mark Ryden: Amalgamation', Outre Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
1998 'Mark Ryden: The Meat Show', Mendenhall Gallery, Pasadena, CA
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Mark Ryden 'santa Worm', 2000 Christmas X-mas Cards Box Of 10 Greeting Cards New: $25