Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill will present a viewing of Ursula von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own on Friday, February 14 at 6 p.m. The documentary follows the New York-based contemporary artist as she completes recent commissions for MIT and Princeton University.
Directed by Daniel Traub, the film explores Von Rydingsvard’s early struggles, passion, and profound drive to become an artist. Into Her Own includes interviews with colleagues, family members, and close friends who offer additional perspective on her life and art. Von Rydingsvard will be in attendance at the Valentine’s Day screening and will join a conversation with Museum Director Terrie Sultan following the screening. The evening is co-presented with Hamptons Doc Fest, as a part The Artist’s Lens series at the Museum.
“I’m delighted to welcome Ursula von Rydingsvard in person to talk about her life and art, and to present this visually stunning film that tells the deeply moving story of an extraordinary woman artist who has overcome so many obstacles—a perfect tribute to Valentine’s Day and to celebrate passion, love, and persistence,” said Corinne Erni, Parrish Senior Curator of ArtsReach and Special Projects.
Von Rydingsvard was born in Nazi Germany in 1942 to a Polish mother and Ukranian father who was conscripted into forced labor. They worked the land during World War II and afterward were forced to move from one refugee camp for displaced Poles to another. Von Rydingsvard was moved around with her parents and six siblings. Eventually they emigrated to the United States in 1950. Von Rydingsvard’s personal experiences with her family created a respect for the dignity of labor. Von Rydingsvard’s work is largely focused on towering cedar structures with intricate networks of individual beams, shaped by sharp and lyrical cuts and glued together to form sensuous, puzzle-like surfaces. While abstract at its core, the work takes visual cues from the landscape, the human body, and utilitarian objects, and demonstrates an interest in the point where the man-made meets nature.
“Von Rydingsvard’s favored forms are massive. They slump on the floor like hollow, tuberous mounds into which it’s tempting to crawl; or jut out from the wall; or else rise up like inverted megaliths or weathered geological forms. They’re dramatic, sensuous, but at the same time almost accidental, as if shaped organically by wind and water,” Sebastian Smee of The Washington Post said about an exhibition at National Museum of Women in the Arts.
She has earned a BA and MFA from the University of Miami, Coral Gables, an MFA from Columbia University, and an honorary doctorate from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Von Rydingsvard’s exhibitions have been displayed at Madison Square Park, Neuberger Museum, and Storm King Art Center, just to name a few. She received a Joan Mitchell Award, an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Today, Von Rydingsvard lives and works in New York.
“The artist’s robust sculptures encapsulate ardency in addition to poise with their tumultuous surfaces that replicate organic formations on soil to veil their precise process, which starts simply with a pencil,” Osman Can Yerebakan of Galerie Magazine said. “Drawing lines on life-size stacks of glue-held wooden blocks with a pencil, von Rydingsvard marks a mental map of her subconsciousness on cedar, letting the mysterious correlation between her hand and brain dictate her lines.”
Traub is a New York City-based photographer and filmmaker whose work focuses primarily on border regions and marginalized communities. He has directed documentaries including the feature length Barefoot Artist and Xu Bing: Phoenix.
Tickets are $15 or $5 for members and students.
The Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway in Watermill. To purchase tickets, visit parrishart.org.