As a child living through the turmoil of post-World War II Europe, Ursula von Rydingsvard, along with her family, was among the dispossessed who sought shelter in the sprawling barracks haphazardly built to house the masses driven from their homes by the Nazis. Born in Germany in 1942, she grew up moving from refugee camp to refugee camp before relocating to the United States in 1950. That early life in the barracks — characterized by roughly hewn wooden constructions, soldiers, exposure to the merciless cold of winter, and nights spent sleeping against a plank — has marked her work as an adult artist.
Today, von Rydingsvard is best known for creating monumental, psychologically freighted sculptures that, with their intrinsic power and imposing presence, speak to notions of loss and absence.
“Ursula von Rydingsvard: Sculpture 1991-2009,” opening Saturday at the Frost Art Museum (10975 SW 17th St., Miami), features an inspiring collection of her signature works. The art is created from cedar beams, each painstakingly cut, shaped, and laminated by the artist before she rubbed powdered graphite into the structure’s scarred surfaces.
Organized by New York’s SculptureCenter and guest-curated by Helaine Posner, the traveling exhibit has received rave critical attention on each leg of its museum tour.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sundays, 12-5 p.m. Starts: April 21. Continues through Aug. 5, 2012