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P1040339 Ryman_rose_5_with_13_side_view_ Ryman_rose_38_side_view_ Ryman_rose_30_side_view_-1 Ryman__the_bed__2007__papier_mache__resin__wire_mesh__acrylic Ryman__rat_trap__2008__view_2 _mg_0351 _mg_0371 Wall_street_rush_hour
'rak'rüm (noun);
the back room of an art gallery
where artists and art lovers hang
Untitled, Untitled,
2009, steel, aluminum mesh, epoxy resin, paint, varies
© WR Studio Inc
Rose 5 and 13, Rose 5 and 13,
2009, aluminum mesh, steel, epoxy resin, paint, plaster, variable dimensions
© Will Ryman
Rose 38, Rose 38,
2009, aluminum mesh, steel, epoxy resin, paint, plaster, 85 x 57 x 51 inches
© Will Ryman
Rose 30, Rose 30,
2009, aluminum mesh, steel, epoxy resin, paint, plaster, 66 x 41 x 42 inches
© Will Ryman
The Bed, The Bed,
2007, papier mache, magic sculpt, resin, acrylic, wire mesh, wood, cloth, 96 x 180 x 330 inches
© Will Ryman
Rat Trap, Rat Trap,
2008, Wood, steel, epoxy resin, paint, canvas, copper, 26 1/2 x 121 x 80 inches
© Will Ryman
Wall Street, Wall Street, 2008, Mixed media
© Will Ryman
Wall Street, Wall Street, 2008, Mixed media
© Will Ryman
Rush Hour, Rush Hour,
2008, Steel, papier mache, magic sculpt and paint, 48 x 54 1/2 x 48 1/2 inches
© Will Ryman
Man Collecting Cans, Man Collecting Cans,
2007, PVC pipe, wire, resin, acrylic paint, wood, 129 x 92 x 48 inches
© Will Ryman
© Saatchi Gallery
Wall Street: Untitled, Wall Street: Untitled,
2008 , Steel, papier mache, magic sculpt and paint, 116 1/2 x 48 1/2 x 48 1/2 in.295.9 x 123.2 x 123.2 cm
© courtesy of the artist and Marlborough Chelsea
Untitled (Rose 24), Untitled (Rose 24),
2009 , Steel, epoxy resin, aluminum, plaster and paint , 81 x 67 x 55 inches
© Courtesy of the artist & Marlborough Chelsea
Untitled, Untitled, 2009
 Untitled (Rose 31), Will RymanWill Ryman, Untitled (Rose 31),
2009 , Steel, epoxy resin, aluminum, plaster and paint, 45 x 42 x 25 inches
© Marlborough Gallery New York
Bird, Will RymanWill Ryman, Bird,
2011, Nails, 12x 16 inches
© Courtesy of the artist & Paul Kasmin Gallery
, Will RymanWill Ryman
© Courtesy of the Artist and Pacific Design Center
Cabin (detail image), Will RymanWill Ryman, Cabin (detail image),
2013, mixed-media gold chrome
© Courtesy of the artist & Paul Kasmin Gallery
Cadillac, Will RymanWill Ryman, Cadillac,
2014, Bounty paper towels, resin, glue
, Will RymanWill Ryman
© Courtesy of the Artist and Paul Kasmin Gallery
  From 1990 to 2001 Ryman studied fiction and dramatic writing and wrote numerous plays. Frustrated with the limits of writing and the theater, he began to make figures as a way to express the ideas in his plays. Ultimately choosing sculpture over the written word, Ryman has devoted himself exclusively to sculpture since 2002. Will Ryman lives and works in New York City. Ryman's recent work cha...[more]

Interview with Will Ryman

New York, Sept. 2009:  Trong Gia Nguyen in conversation with Will Ryman, whose second solo exhibition with Marlborough Gallery opens September 10, 2009. A New Beginning is an installation of Ryman's sculptures depicting an oversized New York City garden, filled with roses and trash, experienced from the vantage point of the city's other icky, long-tailed, four-legged residents.

Courtesy of the artist and Marlborough Gallery

Trong Gia Nguyen: There is a strong theatrical connection in your sculpture, and you took a ten-year break from art to do a bit of playwriting. Can you talk a little about this writing and how it lead you back to visual arts?

Will Ryman:  Actually I didn't start doing sculpture until 2001/2002.  I went from high school right into writing for theater and film, and, to make a very long story short, I found writing to be frustrating.  My mind does not express itself in that way.  Playwriting and film, especially in the commercial world, has a very specific structure, and my expression didn't fit into that traditional structure.  But I wanted to invent a new style of theater,  a style which removed the actors, the writers, and the directors. My vision was to have the audience walk into the theater and see a world or an environment that I had created and have a theatrical experience by seeing my figures in several scenes as in a three-dimensional flip book.  And I did this.  I got a place on the bowery which I turned into a theater.  I created one of my shows and invited everyone I knew to come see it – people I knew in the theater world, the film world, and everyone else that I knew.  Then a friend of a friend brought an art dealer by.  She said that she would like to show them in her gallery during her summer show.  I was resistant because I wanted very much to pursue my theatrical vision.  But she convinced me,  and the show with her went well, and I began my pursuit in the visual arts.

TGN: Last year you produced a number of works that were direct responses to the demise of Wall Street.  Was that a necessity for you, to engage with current events that were "outside" of you?

WR:  Absolutely.  I think as an artist you can't help but be affected by what is outside of you.  Art for me, is an interpretation of what is happening in the world. Whether it's as enormous as the demise of Wall Street, or as subtle as seeing someone or something that looks interesting.

TGN: There is a delicate balance of the grotesque and playful in your work. Do you have nightmares, and do they inform your work?

WR:  I certainly have nightmares, but they have no relationship to my work.  I do try to incorporate the grotesque and the playful.  I respond to an absurdist ideology, and that sensibility inspires what I make.

TGN: Your "style" automatically makes all things appear absurd, even if they weren't, because of the way you handle elements like scale. What have you seen or encountered recently that would qualify as absurd, in real life, that might eventually find (or found) its way into the narrative of one of your sculptures?

WR:  I don't think it's that specific for me.  It's just an ideology that is shared with philosophers like Camus, and Sartre that I am inspired by.  As I understand it, they believed that man's role in the universe is absurd, and therefore meaningless, and that the only way that man's life has meaning is if they commit themselves to a greater good.  So I think that my "style" (if you want to call it that), stems in part from this ideology as well as my own life experience.

TGN: Your upcoming exhibition at Marlborough Gallery will transform the space into a field of giant flowers, strewn with what looks like equally over-scaled detritus from Coney Island, a sort of "beauty interrupted"  aesthetic. How does purity fit into the equation for you conceptually?

WR:  I think when it comes to this installation, it's authentic, in that it's a New York garden.  The objects that are added to the flowers are just as important as the flowers.  More so even.  It for me makes it more real.  I wanted to make the objects as beautiful as the flowers.  I tried to make the entire installation ugly and pure at the same time, for I have never seen a garden in New York City without little pieces of trash and debris.  Without this it wouldn't be a New York City garden.

TGN: Is the Art Brut sensibility in your work a counterbalance to the rapid march of technology? Or is it just reference to primal longings and fears?

WR:  I think with this particular installation it's more of a counterbalance to rapid technology.  Everything I do, or most things I do is handmade, with industrial materials, and raw.  I like to show the messiness, the imperfection, and try to make it beautiful.  I could never achieve what I wanted to with this installation unless it was all handmade.  Other work I have done definetly references more the primal within us, but this one is more about nature and commercialism.

TGN: Any thoughts of going back into theater and/or playwriting?

WR:  No, not really.  I am a sculptor.  I think I have always been a sculptor. Looking back, I see now that during the 12 years I was writing, I was really just a sculptor...who was trying to write.

ArtSlant would like to thank Will Ryman and Marlborough Gallery for their assistance in making this interview posible.


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