Made In L.A. is coming to the Hammer, Barnsdall Park, LAXART, and billboards around town on June 2 and will showcase sixty emerging, under-recognized Los Angeles artists–one of which will be voted to win a $100,000 prize. In order to help you make an educated vote this summer, we’re counting down to Made In L.A. by showcasing each artist participating in the biennial.
Ry Rocklen is a sculptor and object maker who makes all sorts of crazy things, from realistic human statues to ponchos for an unknown tribe of people to bedazzled tiled mattresses to melting folding chairs. Oh, he’s also a musician.
Ry’s work revolves around the home and objects involved in suburban life. They don’t seek to repurpose or rethink the meaning in the object they instead redefine and exaggerate their purpose, poking fun at the world surrounding them. On his website, he has the objects broken up into a few worlds that really do an excellent job of taxonomizing what his objects are: Sit, Sleep, Shelter, Figure, Decor, Outdoor, and Other. Each section corresponds to objects that could fit into that world, Sleep containing mattresses and pillows and sheets cast in metal or tiled in tiny bathroom tiles while Decor has everything from pieces of carpet turned into what could be a painting to a deflated basketball turned into a concrete bowl.
His work is very lighthearted and, although full of embedded meaning, can simply be ingested from looks: they are cool looking and conceptually rich. They have this really, really dry wittiness to them which is apparent from his way of categorizing his work to a piece of his entitled Lucky Penny Pick-Up, which is a series of pennies placed face up in a space. He was featured in the Whitney Biennial in 2008, where he brought his piece Rollin’ On 23’s, a series of glasses filled with water on a piece of wood between two stones. Allusions and puns play a big part in his work as that piece proves along with many that nod toward popular culture and what their purpose is.
Ry is one of a very small few of Made In L.A. artists that we stumbled upon and went “OH MY GOD THIS IS SO COOL,” an artist that we would have been stoked to have found and shared. His work is so fresh and ironic but not intended to be ironic to be ironic. It’s clever and different and he seems to get how to present himself visually, from his artwork to his website (which, in researching sixty artists, we have found very few hold up to the self presentation online that Ry achieves). Moreover, he makes rad spacey electronic music. As if he wasn’t cool enough, he adds this glitter atop of himself! We know he’ll have something good at Made In L.A. And, more than seeing his work at the show, we’d love to just hang out with him since he undoubtedly is someone who gets it.