Nine Boston-area artists are currently exhibiting in the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston’s 2010 James and Audrey Foster Prize Exhibition. The artists (six of which are past MCC fellows!) are finalists for the prestigious $25,000 prize, which will be announced January 2011.
We thought it would be interesting to peek inside the workspace of these exciting, innovative artists. Here, Evelyn Rydz (Drawing Fellow ’10) explores the making of her intricate, entrancing drawings.
Over the last few years I have been making regular visits to coastlines to document objects that have washed ashore. I am interested in the stories these found objects tell of relocation, transformation, and the suggestions of past events that have made them castaways in foreign landscapes. A selection of drawings from two related bodies of work inspired by my coastal visits are included in the Foster Prize Exhibition.The first group of drawings, Castaways, maps out items the sea has rejected, as I have found them; while the second group, Drifting Islands, creates places where they exist together.
My work always begins with photographs. I photograph objects and places that have undergone significant change or that are in a process of transformation. I categorize, reorganize, and often times collage these images into new landscapes. A main component of my work is in exploring the details. I learn about the objects as I draw them, investigating each part completely. I think of the details in the objects like scars and wrinkles that contain endless information about the past.
The Castaways drawings, chart washed ashore objects that have been lost, abandoned, or possibly defeated at sea. I am intrigued by how these objects come together and become camouflaged in their new environments. Some examples of this can be seen in the piece of bright blue insulation foam with barnacles growing along its side or in the rusted beer can covered with algae and shells. This catalog of flotsam is drawn from an intimate eyelevel perspective with the found object; the sea is a faint line in the distance. These drawings focus on each detail of the found object, including its texture, altered surface, color, and size, giving them unique identities, while the settings are minimal black and white summaries of the space. Each object becomes like an actor spot lit on stage.
The second group of drawings, Drifting Islands, which stems from this flotsam catalog, merges these found objects with fragments of disparate places into unexpected islands. From early sea explorers, to Homer’s seascapes, to Darwin in the Galapagos, and TV shows like Lost, there are endless stories of our lure to the sea. Working from both observation and imagination, these drawings are based on adaptation, possibilities of new environments, and questions of how future landscapes will evolve.
All images by Evelyn Rydz: DRIFTING ISLAND #3 (2009), Pencil, Color Pencil, and Acrylic on Two Sheets of Duralar, 21×32 in; studio materials; Evelyn Rydz, at work in her studio (photo by Meredith Pierce); RED GLOVE (2010), Pencil and Color Pencil on Duralar, 11×14 in; PINK BALLOON (2010), Pencil and Color Pencil on Duralar, 11×14 in; DRIFTING ISLAND #5 (2009), Pencil, Color Pencil, and Acrylic on Two Sheets of Duralar, 22×52 in; detail of DRIFTING ISLAND #5 (2009).