Pop Surrealism Maestro Mark Ryden

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Mark Ryden was born in Medford, Oregon in 1963. During his childhood years he lived in different locations in the United States—from Lake Tahoe to Longmont, Colorado—having settled in south California where he applied for high school. He received his BFA from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in 1987. As a kid, Ryden was already known in class for drawing dogs with their intestines showing and self-portraits with three-eyes. His teachers would disapprove of this, but his family would support him. He quickly found a way to have fun with teachers by simply confusing and scaring them.

 

His work first garnered attention in the 1990s when he ushered in a new genre of painting, “Pop Surrealism“, dragging a host of followers in his wake. Ryden has trumped the initial surrealist strategies by choosing subject matter loaded with cultural connotation. Ryden’s vocabulary ranges from cryptic to cute, treading a fine line between nostalgic cliché and disturbing archetype. Seduced by his infinitely detailed and meticulously glazed surfaces, the viewer is confronted with the juxtaposition of the childhood innocence and the mysterious recesses of the soul. A subtle disquiet inhabits his paintings; the work is achingly beautiful as it hints at darker psychic stuff beneath the surface of cultural kitsch. In Ryden’s world cherubic girls rub elbows with strange and mysterious figures. Ornately carved frames lend the paintings a baroque exuberance that adds gravity to their enigmatic themes.

 

Mark Ryden received a BFA in 1987 from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. His paintings have been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide, including a retrospective “Wondertoonel” at the Frye Museum of Art in Seattle and Pasadena Museum of California Art, and in the exhibition “The Artist’s Museum” at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

 

The Piano Player

 

Olde Tyme Meats

 

Riding with the Lord

 

Josephine

 

Omnibus

 

Grotto of the Old Mass

 

Heaven

 

Sophia’s Bubbles

 

The Magic Circus

 

Jessica’s Hope

 

The Ecstasy of Cecelia

 

The Pumpkin President

 

Snow White

 

Night Visit

 

The Cloven Bunny

 

Weeping

 

Rosie’s Tea Party

 

Jasper Ridin

 

The Birth

 

Corkey Ascending to the Heavens

 

Clear Hearts, Grey Flowers

 

The Meat Train

 

Santa Worm

 

Tubbies

 

Slayer