Mark Ryden: The Tree Show

Posted by Dale Townshend on June 07, 2009 in News tagged with



Mark Ryden was born in Medford, Oregon in 1963. His work has been  admired for combining imagery from different sources such as children’s illustrations from the 1940s, underground comics of the 1960s and 1970s, religious symbols from antiquity and representative characters from pop culture. Among his influences, he mentions Bosch, Bruegel, Ingres and Bouguereau, and also Italian and Spanish religious painting. He has created a paralell strange universe of disturbing beauty where his audience gets challenged by "unsettling circumstances disturbing the soothing cultural familiarity." His paintings have been exhibited worldwide; the most recent exhibition, "The Snow Yak Show" took place in Japan, at the Tomio Koyama Gallery, in Tokyo, February 2009. He achieved success in the 1990s thanks to his detailed compositions, his masterful technique, the highly decorative richness of his desighs and the definitely uncanny content: bunnies do not simply frolic in the forest, they carve slaps of bloody meat instead; gorgeous innocent girls do not simply play with their fluffy toys, they breastfeed them. Let’s see some examples:

 Sophia Mercurial Waters


 Little Boy Blue

Recently, at the beginning of Spring this year, he  released a limited edition of The Tree Show, a collection of paintings exhibited at the Michael Kohn Gallery in Los Angeles, in 2007. It is a hard-bound book which includes over 130 color images of paintings, drawings, and sculptural works. Each book comes in a handmade clamshell box covered in Japanese silk, and it also has a collection of "Vintage Souvenirs" such as a postcard set, commemmorative pin, bookmark, among others. For more information, you can go to:

Let’s enjoy some of the pictures from The Tree Show, a work in which Mark Ryden explores his concern of ecological matters and his fascination with trees as a rich source of cross-cultural connotations, and a central figure of classical landscape, without leaving aside his typical macabre and innocent children.

Girl Eaten by a Tree

Ghost Girl

Allegory of the Four Elements

Logging Truck

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