Bunnies and Bees
Place Published: Sierra Madre, CA
Publisher: Porterhouse Fine Art Editions
Date Published: 2002
Edition: First edition
Book Id: 40917
[50pp] Quarto [30.5 cm] White illustrated wrappers. Fine.
Signed by the author in ink on the front free endsheet. This volume is an exhibition catalog that was produced for shows at the Earl McGrath Gallery in New York, and for the Grant Central Art Center in Santa Ana."What is it that makes Mark Ryden's paintings so engaging? At the crux of his paintings is the surrealist strategy of combining unrelated images to create scenes that could never exist in reality. Dali always claimed that his selection of subject matter was completely random and involved no conscious thought whatsoever. In 1924, when Andre Breton wrote the Surrealist Manifesto, the notion of fusing the rationally unrelated was so fresh that the combination of almost any imagery or objects was provocative. Man Ray produced a startlingly enchanting object by simply putting a row of tacks on the underside of an antique iron. But as the decades have passed Dali's brand of pure surrealism has lost much of its potency. Perhaps it is because reality has become increasingly surreal, but the near ecclesiastical gravity with which the surrealists approached their work in pre-WWI Europe doesn't play the same today. In contemporary, culture pure surrealism's most common, and effective, use is as a strategy to achieve humor in movies.Ryden has trumped the initial surrealist strategies by consciously choosing subject matter for his paintings that are loaded with cultural connotation. He relies on the irrational to help him achieve intuitive leaps in his combining of subject matter: with dazzling results. The sheer amount of layered information in each painting also contributes substantially to the impact of his work, But the crowning factor with Ryden is that he is an artist in touch with his time. The overall look and feel of his paintings and the stuff he finds interesting strikes a resounding cord with contemporary everyman." - Mike McGee, from the preface.