Being in the Hands of Ursula von Rydingsvard

Three of her sculptures, for example:


In getting to know Ursula von Rydingsvard’s sculptures, I’ve come to think of them as beings. They seem to have life and awareness of where they are. They stand in place, but they relate to us in complicated ways. The artist has shaped them, originally from cedar, during long days with tools, teamwork and intuitive attention. The artist’s website is rich with evidence of her impressive body of work as well as her intensive working processes. Fascinating stories from her early life connect with her creative focus and ongoing choices. Links to specific resources for the three sculptures here should offer enough to tell if you might become as enthralled by Ursula von Rydingsvard as I am.

Ence Pence (1997) at deCordova Sculpture Park


Captions for the photos of ence pence are quoted from the deCordova website description of this work. For more information, click here.

Elegantka (2010) at deCordova Sculpture Park

Captions for the above photos of Elegantka are quoted from the deCordova website description of this work. For more information, click here.

Scientia (2016) at MIT, McGovern Institute for Brain Research

Scientia completed in 2016,  is about 25 feet tall,  bronze, cast from cedar forms including new processes to create lace patterns at the top. The LIST MIT Public Art site for Scientia contains a video of the artist at work on sequential stages of the piece.


Captions of photos above and the statement below are quoted from Patricia C. Phillips in the brochure: Ursula von Rydingsvard’s SCIENTIA.

With early childhood memories sealed
in her consciousness and somatic recall, over many years as a New
York City-based artist she has developed a courageous sensibility
for the unknowns of material experimentation and extraordinary
applications. But even new works of bronze, polyurethane resin, or
copper generally emanate from her deep attraction to wood and
legendary use of pliable cedar as a point of origin. 

Scientia at Night, slide show:

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For further exploration, visit Ursula von Rydingsvard website. As a guide during the deCordova show of her work in 2011, I received and now treasure the associated book  Ursula von Rydingsvard: Working by Patricia C. Phillips (Prestel Books, 2011).

One comment

  1. Sharon McBride · · Reply

    I am absolutely enthralled, Deb. I just took a look at these and they’re quite amazing! I’m definitely going to MIT to see Scientia. And look forward to visiting the deCordova, too. Really inspiring. Thank you!


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