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Art & Life with Cordy Ryman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cordy Ryman.

Cordy, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I grew up in a family of artists in New York. While I was in high school, I became interested in sculpture and began creating figurative works with expressive faces. Working from this emotional place making stone and woodcarving, I attended School of Visual Arts in New York where I was in Maura Sheehan’s class and further developed my practice in abstract painting and sculpture.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I am a reactor as much as a planner. Since the early 1990s, my practice has gradually evolved to conflate the mediums of both painting and sculpture.

For something to be alive, it can’t be made by a machine. I work primarily in wood, which is almost a living thing, and is a versatile material that has a lot of visual information and variability within it already that for my modes of working with my hands, it’s very appropriate.

Originally, my multi-dimensional compositions contained found materials from the street and overtime I’ve begun to recycle found materials within my own studio. I tend to work on multiple works and installations simultaneously. I often start with an idea that usually leads to another, so that one work will become two, and then maybe three. Sometimes the second work will be a continuation or another riff of the first, and then maybe the third piece will be totally different, an antidote to the two. In some cases, I start with an idea to repeat a form over and over and maybe plan on using certain colors to create a certain harmony, then decide that I want the repeated forms to be a bit different and maybe work with shadows better in the second. Things don’t necessarily evolve in a linear fashion, but certain elements reappear organically in my practice in various forms. For example, in Rafterweb Scrapwall V2 (2012-2013), which was included in the group show Painting a Love Story at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston in 2014, comprised a floor to ceiling installation containing collaged wood blocks within a grid pattern of 5 by 12 rows. This installation derived from a similar earlier work that was shown at Mark Moore Gallery in New York and led to a more recent project permanently installed at P.S.11 in Queens, New York.

I believe every artist who works within a consistent format over time develops their own self-reflecting vocabulary and language that seems to have deeper roots and meanings than a singular narrative can successfully illustrate.

What responsibility, if any, do you think artists have to use their art to help alleviate problems faced by others? Has your art been affected by issues you’ve concerned about?
The art world in New York has definitely changed. It’s grown to extent that could create challenges for artists living and working in the city. However, in places like Houston, San Antonio, or Baltimore, for example, the energy and communities driven by artists I believe is thriving due to the number of artists that have moved to these cities with larger spaces to realize work and the fact that artists are creating and running organizations to collectively show their work.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
My studio is based in New York. Zürcher Gallery in New York/Paris and Konrad Fischer Galerie in Düsseldorf/Berlin both exhibit my work in solo and group exhibitions.

In 2014, the NYC Department of Education and the NYC School Construction Authority Public Art for Public Schools Program, in collaboration with the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Perfect for Art Program, commissioned me to create an installation, which is permanently on view P.S. 11 in New York.

Most recently, CRT492017-2018, a monograph with an essay by John Yau, interview with Jill Conner, and photographs by Jeffrey Sturges, was published on occasion of a yearlong solo exhibition FREE FALL at Tower 49 Gallery in New York. The show, which was curated by Thomas Micchelli, closed at the end of April 2018 and included my largest installations to date.

I will be participating in a group show curated by Daniel Gerwin opening this summer at Klowden Mann gallery in Los Angeles.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
1. Installation view, Cordy Ryman: This is this. And that is that., Konrad Fischer Galerie, Düsseldorf, 2018.
2. Rafterweb Scrapwall V2, 2012-2013, acrylic, shellac, and enamel on wood.
3. Installation view, Cordy Ryman: Chimera 45, Zürcher Gallery, New York, 2015. Photo by Adam Reich.
4. Rafterweb Scrapwall V2, 2012-2013, acrylic, shellac, and enamel on wood.
5-6. Installation view, Cordy Ryman: FREE FALL, Tower 49 Gallery, New York, 2018. Photos by Jeffrey Sturges.
7-8. Installation views, Cordy Ryman: Lorem Impsum, Artpace, San Antonio, 2016

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1 Comment

  1. Janine Luiso Duquette

    May 15, 2018 at 12:45 am

    I went to school with Cordy and we had a painting class together at SVA (Stephen Westphal) I always admired his work, we both appreciated the minimalistic viewpoint. Funny thing is I didn’t even know he was Robert Ryman’s Son until the 3rd semester! I remember Cordy keeping very much to himself, never pretentious, always kind but pretty shy overall. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed knowing him and i actually learned a lot by observing him create and by some of our brief conversations when we would critique each other’s work. If I remember correctly, we had a group show at Gene Siegel’s gallery back in 95 or 96. Time flies but so glad to see that he has flourished as a successful artist! Your work looks amazing Cordy!!

    Janine Luiso

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