Rona Pondick Rona Pondick

Rona Pondick

American
b. 1952
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Overview

'My work may look like it changes dramatically in its imagery or its materiality over the years, but my interest in metaphoric and symbolic meaning has remained constant. No matter how my images change, I am always driven by my great love for materials and metaphor.'

The sculptor Rona Pondick uses the language of the body and, in particular, casts made from her own body to create fragmented and hybrid forms that are surreal, metaphoric and psychologically suggestive. The process of metamorphosis is at the heart of her work, which presents a contemporary analogue to the storied tradition of mythical hybrids, ranging from Egyptian sphinxes and Greek centaurs to Franz Kafka's giant insect. This is combined with an 'awareness of how gravity, weight, and materiality affect presence', as well as an exploration of process that encompasses hand-sculpting, 3D computer modelling, and traditional metal casting techniques.

In her early works, Pondick used inanimate objects such as beds, shoes and baby bottles to create unsettling anatomical forms, as well as a series of teeth cast from her own and embedded in mouths made of resin, wax or dirt. A 1998 life cast of her head became the basis for flora and fauna hybrids, set atop the gleaming stainless steel bodies of muskrats, dogs, foxes and monkeys or else entrapped in the branches of trees. She has been using variations on the same cast since, altered in size and material for subsequent works. There is a disorienting interplay of scale in her work, such as oversized thumbs that replace arms or minuscule heads that become buds on bonsai trees. In her more recent works, the artist has continued working with hybrid forms, while introducing colour into resin and acrylic casts of her head, many of which are encased in transparent blocks.

The sculptor Rona Pondick uses the language of the body and, in particular, casts made from her own body to create fragmented and hybrid forms that are surreal, metaphoric and psychologically suggestive. The process of metamorphosis is at the heart of her work, which presents a contemporary analogue to the storied tradition of mythical hybrids, ranging from Egyptian sphinxes and Greek centaurs to Franz Kafka's giant insect. This is combined with an 'awareness of how gravity, weight, and materiality affect presence', as well as an exploration of process that encompasses hand-sculpting, 3D computer modelling, and traditional metal casting techniques.

In her early works, Pondick used inanimate objects such as beds, shoes and baby bottles to create unsettling anatomical forms, as well as a series of teeth cast from her own and embedded in mouths made of resin, wax or dirt. A 1998 life cast of her head became the basis for flora and fauna hybrids, set atop the gleaming stainless steel bodies of muskrats, dogs, foxes and monkeys or else entrapped in the branches of trees. She has been using variations on the same cast since, altered in size and material for subsequent works. There is a disorienting interplay of scale in her work, such as oversized thumbs that replace arms or minuscule heads that become buds on bonsai trees. In her more recent works, the artist has continued working with hybrid forms, while introducing colour into resin and acrylic casts of her head, many of which are encased in transparent blocks.

Born in Brooklyn, Pondick lives and works in New York. She studied under Richard Serra at the Yale School of Art, where she received her MFA in 1977 and met her partner, the painter Robert Feintuch. She created a site-specific installation, Beds, for the Sculpture Center, New York in 1988, followed by a solo exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston the next year. Her work has since been shown in solo exhibitions at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem (1992); Brooklyn Museum (1996); Rupertinum, Salzburg (1999); Galleria D'Arte Moderna Bologna and Groninger Museum, Groningen, Netherlands (both 2002); Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (2003); Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (2004); and Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn, New York (2010). In 2009, she curated the exhibition Rona Pondick: The Metamorphosis of an Object for the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts, placing her own sculptures in conversation with items from the collection dating from 2000BC to the present. Recent group exhibitions include the High Museum, Atlanta (2020); Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (2020); Philadelphia Museum of Art (2019); Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille (2019); Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2019); and Portland Museum of Art (2019).

Videos

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Group Exhibition Home (Very) Sweet Home

Group Exhibition

Home (Very) Sweet Home

Publications

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Installation view of Yan Pei-Ming's Against the Light at Thaddaeus Ropac Salzburg Villa Kast Installation view of Yan Pei-Ming's Against the Light at Thaddaeus Ropac Salzburg Villa Kast
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