Ursula von Rydingsvard: Working

Patricia C. Phillips

This informative text surveys the life and work of Ursula von Rydingsvard. Born in 1942 in Germany to Polish and Ukrainian parents, she spent her early years moving between refugee camps after Germany’s defeat in 1945, and her family eventually settled in the USA in 1950.

It wasn’t until the 1970s that she started to create large-scale site-specific sculptures with her signature material – cedar. Creating works that are labour-intensive, these monumental pieces reference familiar objects.

Von Rydingsvard’s art is deeply personal, confronting the artist’s hardship and sense of exile. Phillips’ detailed essay on von Rydingsvard’s life and work is sensitive, yet critically engages with the works and presents an overview of the artist’s four decade career. On display in many public galleries and outdoor spaces, von Rydingsvard’s sculptures are beautiful, and contemplative. This text is an essential tool, not only for understanding von Rydingsvard’s works, but for trends in contemporary sculpture in general.

Shirley Stevenson