September 2003 - Most Wanted Issue
Mark Ryden received a BFA in 1987 from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Since then 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 the “The Artist’s Museum” exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles.
Blending themes of pop culture with techniques reminiscent of the old masters, Mark Ryden has created a singular style that blurs the traditional boundaries between high and low art. 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. 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.
In Ryden’s world cherubic girls rub elbows with strange and mysterious figures and ornately carved frames lend the paintings a baroque exuberance that adds gravity to their enigmatic themes.
His next exhibition in Los Angeles, at Michael Kohn Gallery, March 2012 and he is also working on a large monograph book with Taschen due out late fall.