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Ogromna (work of art)

Artwork Info

American (born Germany)
20 ft. 7 in x 12 ft. 4 in.
x 11 ft. 8 in. (6.27 x 3.76 x 3.56 m)
Sculpture, Wood


Commissioned with funds from the North Carolina State Art Society (Robert F. Phifer Bequest)



The undulating, honeycombed layers of Von Rydingsvard’s sculptures consist of roughly hewn cedar blocks cut and stacked to create vessel-shaped forms that also reference the rocky cliffs of a natural landscape, the human body, and architectural structures. She transforms ordinary domestic implements—bowls, vases, spoons, shovels, tools—into monumental structures with forceful and dramatic physical presences. Influenced by minimalism’s reduction of sculpture to its most essential forms (Ronald Bladen was one of her mentors in graduate school), she also cites the psychological power and expressiveness of Alberto Giacometti’s bronze sculptures as a source of inspiration for her concentrated and evocative works.

Von Rydingsvard has worked with wood as a medium for most of her career. She creates her sculptures intuitively, layer by layer, without preliminary sketches or models, and the irregular markings that cover the entire surface remind the viewer that this is a labor-intensive process. The cedar pieces she uses, which begin as 4 x 4 inch beams regularly found in the construction industry, are painstakingly cut, chipped, incised, and fastened together, a process that transforms a static material into something that appears fluid and malleable. The artists says:

[M]y love for wood is part of my history. I come from a long line of Polish peasant farmers, and they were surrounded with wood—wooden homes, wooden fences, domestic implements, wooden tools to farm the land. When you enter any of those houses you’ll see right outside a huge stack of firewood, usually quite beautifully stacked, with smoothly cut ends. There is, I guess, a feeling of familiarity, a feeling of comfort and grace. And at the same time, because of the familiarity, I can really push it around.

tags: site specific, artist’s process, environment, investigation, perception, observation, nature


  • Ursula von Rydingsvard Ogromna 2009 Sculpture Wood