Doug Tausik Ryder is getting a lot of attention these days. He has a piece in the Venice Biennale next year featuring his incredibly powerful Venus sculpture, and this weekend he is having an opening at the Jason Vass Gallery. (We will be there, as will a number of other AGEIST people.) This is not exactly a story of overnight success. This is the story of someone who continues to explore down a road that no one else has gone on, and who, through continuing to explore a unique combination of media, has brought along a devoted fan base.
We recall several years ago seeing Doug making small handheld sculptures with balloons, then placing them in a very early version of a 3D scanner to further investigate the biomorphic forms. It was curious. We watched as he navigated further down the road, buying a huge CNC machine, attacking its very complex coding and cutting methods until he was able to tame the machine into a helpful, huge, tool for creating.
The current process, as we understand it, is to work forms in a computer modeling program, then perhaps make small test versions of them, then to code his giant CNC machine to cut layers from solid wood that are then carefully attached using classic woodworking techniques to form huge wooden sculptures. Once the piece is assembled, the surface must then be finished again by hand. It is a monumentally complex process but the results are extraordinary, combining the beauty of the forms, the grain, and complexity of the natural wood, the hand craft of woodworking, and the scale of digital.
“All my work is a conflict between the geometric and the biological,” he said. “So: the ideal versus the body, the actual messy, biological living thing — it’s a struggle. I thought: ‘I’ll explore that conflict and do both.’ ”
The Venus form is incredibly powerful and steeped in meaning. It was inspired by Paleolithic fertility figures and his wife’s pregnancy four years ago. We have seen it at a handheld scale, desktop size, and also at its full step-inside-and-have-a-seat size. It held up as an icon in all of these. Which is to say that all the bells and whistles of the process are fascinating, but if a powerful form is made, it is enhanced by the process but doesn’t need it to make an impact on its own. The Venus form could work in almost any scale or material imaginable and still hold up. That is how it is with those rare classic forms. It brings to mind the Mr. DOB creation of Takashi Murakami, and how he used it in a huge array of media.
Please join us Saturday night at The Jason Vass Gallery, 1452 E. Sixth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021.