In this very special event, Ursula von Rydingsvard, one of the world’s most impressive artists, speaks about her history and creative process, including the creation of large-scale wooden sculptures that have thrilled and intrigued people. This discussion includes Daniel Traub, who recently completed a documentary about von Rydingsvard’s life and work, and is moderated by Jamie Blosser, an award-winning architect and the executive director of the Santa Fe Art Institute.

About the film Ursula von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own: By the time she was five, Ursula von Rydingsvard had survived World War II and life in a German displacement camp. After emigrating to America, she overcame a brutal marriage and then took an enormous leap of faith: life alone as an artist. By the 1970s, she was creating a staggeringly distinctive and ambitious body of work—massive sculptures that, mostly made of wood, have a deep organic sense and even intimacy. Filmmaker Daniel Traub follows her history and investigates her process, which led to famed pieces including the stunning “Scientia” at M.I.T., which evokes the power of nature and the firing of brain synapses. (U.S., 2020, 78m)

“(Von Rydingsvard’s works) are dramatic, sensuous, but at the same time almost accidental, as if shaped organically by wind and water.” 

Washington Post

Guest speaker: Over a remarkable four-decade-long career, Ursula von Rydingsvard has become one of the most influential sculptors working today. She is best known for creating large-scale, often monumental sculpture from cedar beams, which she painstakingly cuts, assembles, and laminates before finally rubbing a graphite patina into the work’s textured, faceted surfaces. Her signature abstract shapes refer to things in the real world—vessels, bowls, tools, and other objects—each revealing the mark of the human hand while also summoning natural forms and forces. In recent years, von Rydingsvard has explored other mediums in depth, such as bronze, paper, and resin, continuing to expand upon her unique artistic vocabulary. Von Rydingsvard’s work is represented in the permanent collections of over 30 museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minnesota; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Missouri; Storm King Art Center, New York; and Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan. Permanent commissioned sculptures are on view at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Microsoft Corporation, Washington; Princeton University, New Jersey; Bloomberg Corporation, New York; and Barclays Center, New York.

Guest speaker: Daniel Traub is a New York-based filmmaker and photographer whose documentaries include Barefoot Artist, about Lily Yeh and her collaborative artworks in war-torn communities; and Xu Bing: Phoenix, which highlights the condition of Chinese migrant laborers. He has been the director of photography for numerous documentaries for networks and production companies including PBS, German Television ZDF and Arte. His photographs have been exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at the Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago, Slought in Philadelphia and the Lianzhou photo festival in China. His work can be found in public and private collections, such as the Margulies Collection at the WAREhOUSE and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His work has also appeared in publications including Aperture, European Photography and The New York Times Magazine.

Host: Jamie Blosser is the executive director at the Santa Fe Art Institute. An architect, she has based her practice on issues of equity, resilience, and participatory processes. She completed a Loeb Fellowship in 2015 at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and served as an AIA delegate for the UN Habitat III convening in Quito in October 2016. Jamie was the Director of the Santa Fe office of AOS Architects for 10 years. Her community design work with Ohkay Owingeh, a Pueblo tribe in Northern New Mexico, led to revitalization of their historic plaza area, and has been published in several magazines and books.  She received her Masters in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.