Ursula von Rydingsvard (American, born 1942 in Deensen, Germany) studied painting at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, and received an MFA from Columbia University in 1975. The artist’s large-scale sculptures reveal the trace of the human hand and suggest her early recollections of being surrounded by wooden walls, tools, and utensils as a child living in wartime labor and refugee camps in Germany after her family was forced to leave Poland. Von Rydingsvard creates her work from commercially milled cedar beams that are marked, shaped by cuts into the wood, stacked, then glued together; these forms may also be used to cast sculptures in materials including urethane resin, copper, and bronze. Von Rydingsvard’s organic, gesturally potent works allude to the landscape, body, and common utilitarian objects such as spoons, shovels, and bowls.
The artist has received many honors, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Sculpture Center (2014), an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1994), and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (1983) and the National Endowment for the Arts (1979, 1986). Major exhibitions include Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK (2014–2015); Galerie Lelong, New York City (2014); Madison Square Park, New York City (2006); Neuberger Museum, Purchase College, State University of New York (2002); and Storm King Art Center, New York (1992), and her work is represented in major institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. Von Rydingsvard lives and works in New York.