• Essay

  • December 1st, 2014 12.01.2014

    Ursula von Rydingsvard: Redefining Landscape


    The tradition of walking in Britain’s landscape is currently exemplified on a hyperbolic scale at Yorkshire Sculptural Park (YSP).  Beyond England’s intrinsic links between romanticism, nationalism, and sauntering through nature, the park vis-à-vis museum offers a clear break from the nostalgic past by declaring modern and contemporary sculpture’s place within the natural sublimity of the English countryside.  Within the unification between aesthetically profound works and the rolling hills of Yorkshire are installations by Henry Moore, James Turrell and most recently, Ursula von Rydingsvard.

    The natural medium of cedar Rydingsvard employs in her material explorations of past experiences, and reflections on traditional artistic practices, resonates successfully within this landscape.  The verticality of each piece juxtaposes the receding horizon line of YSP, growing upwards, and evolving organically into larger-than-life structures that maintain—at their core—process, materiality, and the marking of the artist’s hand.

    In much of Rydingsvard’s work, what is absent is just as crucial as what is present. The hollow interior spaces and gaps within each sculpture balance the dense weight of the outer form; while that which is solid evokes a kind of mutability of time, seen specifically through the development of antecedent art processes, and formally, in the naturally irregular pieces themselves. The seemingly gradual build-up of each layer—comprised of 2″x4” beams and accentuated by graphite—creates a whole that is fluid, permeating the space of an otherwise static gallery that is at once unobtrusive and detached.

    Rydingsvard’s self-titled exhibition includes six original pieces created for YSP. Select sculptures are dispersed and displayed in the 500-acre open-air gallery, each of which withstanding the natural elements and retracts any kind of barrier between the environment and the work. Viewing art in this capacity encourages one to re-analyze what it means to walk in the British landscape, and offers an altered perspective of the landscape and of art, respectively.

    Rydingsvard’s sculptures will be on view at the Yorkshire Sculptural Park until April 1, 2015.