“Evelyn Rydz: Forever Yours” Brings New Work by Massachusetts Artist to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
(April 1, 2014) BOSTON, MA—A fixture of Boston’s vibrant local artists’ community, Evelyn Rydz (b. 1979) is known for exploring America’s coasts and carefully observing the remnants of modern life that wash up on the shoreline. An alumna of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (SMFA), Rydz was awarded the School’s prestigious Traveling Fellowship in 2012, which brought her to Hawaii, where she was struck by the foreignness of the landscape of Kamilo Beach––an area covered by an accumulation of garbage from the world’s oceans. She created new works, including drawings and photographs, for the upcoming exhibition, “Evelyn Rydz: Forever Yours,” on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), from April 19–September 14, 2014 in the Eunice and Julian Cohen Galleria. Her works depict colorful plastic particles that drifted from dumping sites around the world to occupy 90 percent of the beach’s shoreline––reaching depths of up to 10 feet. Rydz traversed unpaved roads to reach the site, where she collected countless plastic samples for the works on view in the exhibition. Support for the exhibition provided by A Street Frames.
Rydz is best known for her highly detailed drawings of debris found on Massachusetts shores, where she explores the marine debris that populates the beach, and is fascinated by nature’s attempt to reclaim these cast-offs. Her meticulous work draws attention to the transformation of discarded objects on their long journey along the global ocean current—and, more broadly, to the long-term implications of society’s everyday actions. Plastic’s resilience is exactly what makes it useful, but much of what is disposed of rapidly becomes part of the oceanic ecosystem.
“We are extremely excited that the MFA will present alumna Evelyn Rydz’s solo Traveling Fellows exhibition this spring. The School’s partnership with the Museum takes many forms, but the Traveling Fellows program is one of the most powerful opportunities for artists to show their true potential,” said SMFA President, Christopher Bratton. “We are very proud of this important fellowship award which continues to recognize the innovative work of the School's alumni. Evelyn joins a long list of other extraordinary fellows dating back almost a century, including Philip-Lorca DiCorcia, Omer Fast and Ellen Gallagher, and we now congratulate and honor her outstanding work.”
In “Forever Yours,” the panoramic format of Oceanfront (2014), a work of colored pencil on drafting film, echoes the miles of color that stretched before her on Kamilo Beach. For her Floating Artifacts series (2013), Rydz collected tiny shards of plastic and then photographed them through a microscope at Harvard University. The tremendous transformation of these objects is evident: they are weathered and cracked, and harbor mold and small organisms. The extreme close-up view makes the debris appear more like broken pieces of ancient pottery or, ironically, gemstones, than discarded consumer materials.
Also in the exhibition, the series Postcards from Kamilo (2013–14) references the ubiquitous “Aloha from Hawaii” tourist cards, but instead sends greetings from a paradise destroyed. Wind-driven ocean currents are like a global conveyor belt—something tossed into the sea can be taken around the world with their force. Each of Rydz’s Postcards is a portrait of an object that the sea morphed into an alien hybrid of its previous form.
“Evelyn is one of Boston’s brightest stars. Her delicate, beautiful works blend technical virtuosity with conceptual depth to address a timely topic that concerns us all. This exhibition in particular marks an exciting new direction in the evolution of her practice while building upon the style she is best known for,” said Al Miner, the MFA’s Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art.
Rydz is the recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Drawing Fellowship and a MassArt Faculty Foundation Fellowship. She has been the Lead Artist for the MFA’s Community Arts Initiative Artist Project, a program where she collaborated with students from after-school community organizations in the Boston area. Rydz received her Master of Fine Arts from SMFA in affiliation with Tufts University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Florida State University. She is currently an Assistant Professor at MassArt. She lives and works in Boston.
Her work has been included in selected exhibitions at institutions such as: Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA; Berliner Liste, Berlin, Germany; Brattleboro Museum, Brattleboro, Vermont; El Parque Cultural del Caribe, Barranquilla, Colombia; Tufts University Art Gallery, Medford, MA; Aqua Art Fair, Miami, FL; La Otra: Feria de Arte Contemporáneo, Bogotá, Colombia; and the Anchorage Museum, Anchorage, Alaska.
SMFA Traveling Fellowship Program
Support for exploration and research are critical in the early stages of an artist’s career and SMFA has a strong history of providing these opportunities, none more enduring than the Traveling Fellows program. Since 1894, this program has awarded funds to select SMFA artists providing support to launch individual careers through independent work, travel and exhibition opportunities. Each year up to 10 individuals are awarded fellowships by an independent jury and have approximately one year to complete travel and create new work; then their works are reviewed by a second jury and one artist is selected for a presentation at the MFA. The Community Arts Initiative is generously supported by the Linde Family Foundation.
About the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston:
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is recognized for the quality and scope of its encyclopedic collection, which includes an estimated 500,000 objects. The Museum’s collection is made up of: Art of the Americas; Art of Europe; Contemporary Art; Art of Asia, Oceania, and Africa; Art of the Ancient World; Prints, Drawings, and Photographs; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments. Open seven days a week, the MFA’s hours are Saturday through Tuesday, 10 a.m.–4:45 p.m.; and Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m.–9:45 p.m. Admission (which includes one repeat visit within 10 days) is $25 for adults and $23 for seniors and students age 18 and older, and includes entry to all galleries and special exhibitions. Admission is free for University Members and youths age 17 and younger on weekdays after 3 p.m., weekends, and Boston Public Schools holidays; otherwise $10. Wednesday nights after 4 p.m. admission is by voluntary contribution (suggested donation $25). MFA Members are always admitted for free. The Museum’s mobile MFA Guide is available at ticket desks and the Sharf Visitor Center for $5, members; $6, non-members; and $4, youths. The Museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Patriots’ Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. For more information, visit mfa.org or call 617.267.9300. The MFA is located on the Avenue of the Arts at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.
About the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston:
Founded in 1876 and accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (SMFA), is one of only two art schools in the country affiliated with a major museum—the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Our mission is to provide an education in the fine arts—for undergraduate and graduate artists—that is interdisciplinary and self-directed. This education values cultural, artistic and intellectual diversity; it embraces a wide range of media; it stresses the development of individual vision and its relation to culture in general; it values equally the knowledge gained by thinking and doing; it is deeply engaged with the world as a whole. If the mission is constant, its practice is always transforming. For more information about our programs and partnerships, visit www.smfa.edu.