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April 10, 2004

{     Mark Ryden: "Blood"     }    

I am a sucker for books. Especially art books. More specifically, little art books. I love the book that you can keep in your pocket or roll into your sleeve like a 50s greaser. And who doesn't like blood, well as long as it isn't your own. Mark Ryden's "Blood," is a masterpiece. This 2 1/2 by 3 1/2-inch wonder catalogs each and every work shown at the Earl McGrath gallery show in New York City. I was lucky enough to view the works in the flesh, so to speak. For those of you who aren't familiar with Ryden, you should get acquainted. His paintings are meticulously rendered, wonderland dreamscapes, usually depicting a wide-eyed child (modeled after his own) in an eerie situation, like hugging a decapitated stuffed animal or staring down a severed head of a president. His art gives you that weird feeling in your stomach like that scene from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when they are riding on the boat. Delicately painted but powerful! It's like being slapped in the face with a silk-laced glove. "Blood" (the book) is no exception. 92 pages of art, details and even the pencil sketches that would be the eventual finished piece, bound in a faux leather, embossed cover, the book itself is a work of art. And reasonably priced at 25 dollars. It's limited and numbered in an addition of 20,000 and some come with a tasseled bookmark, a very cool addition to the overall aesthetic appeal. Buy it and enjoy the images of children crying blood, babies being baptized in blood, President Lincoln's decapitated head in a child's bed and a little girl holding her own head while you guessed it her neck is fountaining blood. Contributed by Gary Kost

     » Buy book here
     » Mark Ryden's site


While it is absolutely luscious I was a little disappointed by the size. (If that's not a "Queer Eye" quotable I don't know what is.)
I guess I was just expecting more for $25 bucks, and felt a little like I was feeding Mr. Ryden's ego alongside his checking account having forked over for something so... miniature. It's grown on me, and there is no denying the work it contains.
What I was more impressed with than I expected to be was the accompanying soundtrack, a purchase well worth 20 clams. I'll be reviewing it on the site sometime this week.

Posted by: Adam at April 12, 2004 3:49 AM

I think it was the fact that I saw the show and saw how tiny and delicate these paintings were made me fall in love with the book. I think it's a great representation of the whole over-all feel (and size) of Blood. (i am a sucker for small books though too)

The soundtrack really added a "little extra" to the exhibition as well. It set a good viewing mood.

Posted by: Gary at April 12, 2004 3:12 PM

I would have loved to have seen this work in the gallery, I've only seen one of his paintings up close and it was back when he was working on larger canvas. He's got so much technique, his pieces seem to glow and dim at the same time and I can only imagine how rich and liquid the blood looked in person.
I am glad that you reviewed the book, I've been feeling guilty about not doing so myself because it is really wonderful, I just know I wouldn't have done it justice with my reservations about the size. I'm glad you were able to give it the attention it deserves.

Posted by: Adam at April 12, 2004 3:51 PM

Unfortunately I have never had the pleasure of veiwing any of his work close up but I have almost everyone available saved my folder! I guess I'm boardering on obsessiveness but I cant help it they are just so amazing...


Posted by: Chloe at January 23, 2006 3:27 AM
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