Ursula von Rydingsvard born in Deensen, Germany (1942 ) is a sculptor who has been working in Brooklyn, New York for the past 30 years. She received her MFA from Columbia University in 1975 after which time she started to work with cedar, a material through which she has explored a wide range of images.
Von Rydingsvard is best known for creating large-scale, often monumental sculpture from the cedar beams which she painstakingly cuts, assembles, and laminates, finally rubbing powdered graphite into the work’s textured, faceted surfaces. She deliberately uses cedar boards milled into 4″ by 4″ widths with varied lengths which create a neutrality or “blank canvas” which enables her to dip into many different possibilities often within the arena of the psychological and emotional. As von Rydingsvard explains this approach: “If I were to say how it is that I break the convention of sculpture (and I’m not sure that’s what I do or even if that’s what I want to do), it would be by climbing into the work in a way that’s highly personal, that I can claim as being mine. The more mine it is, the more I’m able to break the convention.” Her signature abstract shapes refer to things in the real world, each revealing the mark of the human hand while also summoning natural forms and forces. These forms typically include simple vessels and bowls; many suggest tools or other artifacts such as shovels, spoons and fences, or allude to primitive dwellings, geological formations, the landscape, or the body. She now features permanent dents in her cheeks from wearing masks while working for so many years.
(taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ursula_von_Rydingsvard)