Mark Ryden has us on edge. His vocabulary, at once cryptic and cute, refined and cliché blurs the boundaries between high and low art as much as it does between childish innocence and profound unease.
Ryden first garnered attention in the 1990s when he ushered in a new genre of painting, “Pop Surrealism,” trumping the initial surrealist strategies by choosing subject matter loaded with cultural connotation.This cultural kitsch is rendered in infinitely detailed and meticulously glazed surfaces, the precision itself evoking a subtle disquiet as much as the constant suspicion of something slightly awry in all the sugar-sweet pastel shades, fairytale landscapes, fluffy creatures, and wide-eyed girl-childs.
In the major retrospective Pinxit, whose title refers to the Latin term “painted by,” we survey almost two decades of this strange, beautiful, unheimlich world. Through the themes of the artist’s major exhibitions, including The Meat Show, Bunnies & Bees, The Tree Show, we present his most compelling canvases as well as expert essays by Yoshitomo Nara, Carlo McCormick, and Kristine McKenna.