NEW YORK, NY.- Fine artist Mark Ryden has become a fixture of the contemporary alternative art movement with a style often referred to as Pop-Surrealism. With a masterful painting technique that calls to mind the exquisitely rendered flesh of a Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres portrait, Rydens paintings deftlyand disturbinglycombine this Old Master sensibility with weirdly cryptic subject matter, blurring the traditional boundaries between high and low art.
In Mark Ryden: The Gay 90s, a collection of his most recent work, the artist casts his skewed perspective toward the turn of the nineteenth century with such cryptic works as The Meat Shop, a portrait of a knife-wielding Abraham Lincolna recurring Ryden characterwearing a butchers apron, and surrounded by cuts of meat and garlands of sausage; in Incarnation, a young girl with porcelain skin and a platinum bob stands, like an Infanta, in a fetching gown of bouffant layers of meat (another recurring theme in the artists work); The Parlor, an allegory of quintessence and divine mystery, contains a still life cabinet of curiosities with shelves full of the objects that seem right at home in Rydens enigmatic world: a rotary phone, a set of dentures, a tourist souvenir of Romulus and Remus, a jeweled crown, an animal skull.
Ryden has been called the high prince of Lowbrow, and it is easy to see why his lush and bizarre paintings are eagerly sought after by collectors, and why they have been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide including Paul Kasmin in New York, and Michael Kohn Gallery in LA.
If you are a fan, this new book will be a must, and if you are not yet familiar with Mr. Rydens work, The Gay 90s will open your eyes to a truly unique talent, and a star of his generation of painters.
Mark Ryden received a BFA in 1987 from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. His paintings have been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide, including a retrospective Wondertoonel at the Frye Museum of Art in Seattle and Pasadena Museum of California Art, and in the exhibition "The Artist's Museum" at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles. Amanda Erlanson is a writer, art collector, and editor of the art blog Erratic Phenomena. Anthony Haden-Guest is a British-American writer, reporter, cartoonist, and art critic who lives in New York and London.