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Skidmore College

Sculptor Von Rydingsvard to present Malloy talk March 8

March 6, 2012

Luba (2011), 2010, cedar, graphite,
and bronze (Bodycomb photo)

Ursula von Rydingsvard, a sculptor best known for creating large-scale, often monumental sculpture from cedar beams, will deliver the Malloy Visiting Artist Lecture Thursday, March 8, at Skidmore College. Free and open to the public, the illustrated talk will begin at 6 p.m. in Gannett Auditorium, Palamountain Hall.

Von Rydingsvard has been working in Brooklyn for the past 30 years. To create her artworks she painstakingly cuts, assembles, and laminates cedar beams, finally rubbing powdered graphite into the work's textured, faceted surfaces. She uses cedar boards milled into 4 inch by 4 inch widths with varied lengths, giving her a "blank canvas" that enables her to dip into a wide range of possibilities, both psychological and emotional. Her signature abstract shapes refer to things in the real world?simple vessels, bowls, tools, and other objects?each revealing the mark of the human hand while also summoning natural forms and forces.

Born in Germany in 1942, von Rydingsvard and her family were among the dispossessed that, after the war, were forced to move from one refugee camp for displaced Poles to another, eventually settling in the United States in 1950. The artist's respect for organic materials and the dignity of labor, the sense of loss and pain, and the persistent memories that inform her work may be traced back to these formative experiences.

Von Rydingsvard earned a B.A. degree from the University of Miami, Coral Gables (1965), an M.F.A. degree from Columbia University (1975), and an honorary doctorate from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore (1991). Her sculpture is included in numerous permanent collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Brooklyn Museum, all in New York; Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Detroit Institute of Arts; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Her awards and honors include two individual grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, two awards from the American International Critics Association, induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture.

Skidmore'sMalloy Visiting Artist Lecture series annually brings to campus a distinguished contemporary artist of international stature. The series is endowed by artist Susan Rabinowitz Malloy, who earned a B.S. in art from Skidmore in 1945.

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