Fuzzy bunnies, big-eyed girls, meat, magic and mystery Mark Ryden's carnival of kitsch. 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. Ryden's vocabulary ranges from cryptic to cute, treading a fine line between nostalgic cliche 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. Complex in its arcane and idiosyncratic subject matter, Ryden's work can leave no viewer unmoved. This sweeping retrospective book brings Ryden's work to the world, with nearly two decade's worth of paintings and works on paper, broadening the horizons of his uncanny universe.
I love artwork that makes you question and think about the image, so when we had the opportunity to view this title by mark Ryden, it was something we couldn’t leave alone as he merges the world of very doll looking characters with bizarre, macabre twists with his own musings that bring a wonderful sense of humour and whimsy to the viewer’s mind.
It’s cleverly done, it has a great flow about it and for me, it was a book that kept me wanting to see more to figure out what he was going to come up with next to titillate my imagination. Finally add to this a title that’s backed up with the artists own musings about the creations. The details are stunning and to be honest I’m still noticing new things each time I go through it that I’d missed on previous reads. Its quirky, it’s fun and above all else its insightful to delve into the mind of an artist. All round a great item and one that I’ll have a lot of fun with time and again.