DOUGLAS TAUSIK RYDER’s process reconciles tradition with a digital landscape, revisiting and re-imagining the history of sculpture with tools specific to our time. Over the past few years, Tausik Ryder has taught himself to use G-code and advanced machining techniques, embarking on a multi-year struggle to become adept in the technicalities and nuances of new programs and equipment. This new expertise was necessary if he wanted to bridge divergent high and low-tech sensibilities. In his recent series of large wooden forms, he replicates the look and feel of traditional, crafted objects through computer-aided methods. He works with wood, a sculptural material with a hands-on, nature-oriented legacy–think of 20th century masters Sam Maloof or J.B. Blunk, chiseling away at tree trunks in their studios.
One sculpture spawns the next, as Tausik Ryder will take part of a finished form as the starting point for another. This gives his sculptures a formal consistency that makes them seem, physically, familial and, virtually, like ever-morphing replicants. This relationship between the bodily and the computer-engineered parallels another relationship playing out in Tausik Ryder’s work: the one between biomorphic and geometric.
As a movement, Biomorphism has roots in the mid-20th century, when painters and sculptors– among them Yves Tanguy, Jean Arp and Leonora Carrington–were taking a biological approach to abstraction. Their loosely referential shapes had the weight and roundness of natural forms, as do Tausik Ryder’s. But Tausik Ryder is particularly interested in bringing the biomorphic into close contact with the platonic, minimal geometry associated with both Euclid and Donald Judd. A sphere-shaped orifice cuts through the core of Tausik Ryder’s sculpture Venus, a form with curved, voluminous limbs made of lightcolored timber.
Such geometric shapes, confidently defined, suggest a shared impulse toward an idealized, controlled existence. That they exist inside expressive, crafted forms that conjure the organic suggests a constant conundrum: how do we unite our desire for perfection, newness and order with our desire for an age-old connection to the natural world? Literally and metaphorically, Tausik Ryder's work makes such seemingly at-odds desires compatible. The computer aids tradition, and bodily forms coexist with rational geometry.
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