Lora Reynolds is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by Cordy Ryman in our project room.
Ryman makes abstract, slapdash, colorful objects—moderately sized wall-pieces that straddle the line between painting and sculpture. Ryman is a recycler; he refuses to throw anything away because he often culls art materials from the detritus of his cluttered studio. Typical materials include velcro, staples, Gorilla Glue, chopped-up 2x4s, and enamel paint.
When Ryman starts work on one piece, additional pieces often arise unexpectedly: a board used as a paint palette might be the beginning of a discrete work, excess wood trimmed from the board might be the genesis of a third piece. He often works on multiple, related artworks at the same time. Ryman's work is the product of a series of reactions—reactions to relationships between materials, colors, artworks, or architectural spaces (e.g. floor/wall/ceiling).
The history of modern abstraction informs the core of Ryman's work. 10 Year Bar recalls Donald Judd in its serial, vertical, geometric forms. Ryman applied bright red paint to the edges of Hot Boxes to produce reflections on the wall behind the piece, similar to the way Dan Flavin's fluorescent tubes sometimes cast unexpected, colorful shadows. Ryman's interest in creating pictures-as-objects instead of pictures-as-representations stems from ideas similar to those that inspired Frank Stella's early black paintings. His commitment to a process-based practice resonates in a quote from his father, Robert Ryman: "There is never any question of what to paint, only how to paint."
Ryman gives a nod to his modernist and minimalist forebears before committing a kind of formal patricide. He insists on pushing contemporary abstraction away from smooth and perfect and into uncharted territories. His painterly sculptures and sculpturely paintings play formal games that call attention to process, material, and the subtleties of surface, space, and light. Above all, though, Ryman is a champion of unabashed visual pleasure.
Cordy Ryman grew up in a family of artists—mother Merrill Wagner, father Robert Ryman, and brothers Ethan and Will. He has exhibited widely nationally and internationally at institutions including the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art and MoMA PS1. Ryman's work is in public collections including the Rubell Family Collection and the Museum of Contemporary Art (North Miami). Cordy Ryman was born in 1971 and lives and works in New York.