The New Social Environment#64

The Life and Work of Ronald Bladen


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

A live conversation and panel discussion on the life and work of sculptor Ronald Bladen.

A black and white photo of the New York artist, Ronald Bladen's sculpture "X"
X, painted aluminum, 1967–1968, Ronald Bladen.

Charles Ronald Wells Bladen’s artistic stance, influenced by European Constructivism, American Hard-Edge Painting, and sculptures such as Isamu Noguchi and David Smith, had stimulating effect on a circle of younger artists including Carl Andre, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt and Lawrence Weiner, who repeatedly called him the ‘father figure’ of Minimal Art. (More about Ronald Bladen at


Torkwase Dyson

A photo of Torkwase Dyson
Torkwase Dyson

Torkwase Dyson is a painter whose compositions address the continuity of movement, climate change, infrastructure, and architecture. For Dyson these subjects in relationship to each other produce abstractions that explore the history and future of black spatial liberation strategies and environmental racism. Through abstract paintings, Dyson grapples with ways space is perceived and negotiated particularly by black and brown bodies. Explorations of how the body unifies, balances, and arranges itself to move through natural and built environments become both expressive and discursive structures within the work. Dyson builds the paintings slowly, accumulating washes and configuring minimal geometric elements through a process of improvisation and reflection. The paint-handling producing various surfaces using brushwork and other tools is made poetic by a juxtaposition of dense marks and scored, diagrammatic lines. This compositional rigor imbues the works with an architectural presence and optical gravity. In Dyson’s work the residue of grids and the evidence of hand moving in space creates a productive tension. This precarious arrangement along with subtle use of atmospheric color, contour lines, scale shifts in the paintings invite the eye to consider the conceptual and corporeal knowledge of space in real time.

In the Rail:

Ursula Von Rydingsvard

A drawing of Ursula Von Rydingsvard by Phong Bui
A drawing of Ursula Von Rydingsvard

Ursula Von Rydingsvard was born 1942 in Deensen, Germany. She has lived and worked in New York City for over 40 years. Over a remarkable four-decade-long career, Ursula von Rydingsvard has become one of the most influential sculptors working today. She is best known for creating large-scale, often monumental sculpture from cedar beams, which she painstakingly cuts, assembles, and laminates before finally rubbing a graphite patina into the work’s textured, faceted surfaces. Her signature abstract shapes refer to things in the real world — vessels, bowls, tools, and other objects — each revealing the mark of the human hand while also summoning natural forms and forces. In recent years, von Rydingsvard has explored other mediums in depth, such as bronze, paper, and resin, continuing to expand upon her unique artistic vocabulary. Learn more

In the Rail:

Dr. Robert S. Mattison

Dr. Robert S. Mattison, Marshall R. Metzgar Professor of Art History at Lafayette College, is the author of numerous books, articles, and exhibition catalogues, including Franz Kline: Coal and Steel, Robert Rauschenberg: Breaking Boundaries, Arshile Gorky: Works, and Robert Motherwell: The Formative Years. Dr. Mattison’s book titled “Ronald Bladen” is published by Abeville Press.

Will Corwin

Will Corwin is a sculptor and journalist from New York. He has exhibited at The Clocktower, LaMama and Geary galleries in New York, as well as galleries in London, Hamburg, Beijing and Taipei. He has written regularly for The Brooklyn Rail, Artpapers, Bomb, Artcritical, Raintaxi and Canvas and formerly for Frieze. Most recently he curated and wrote the catalog for Postwar Women at The Art Students League in New York, an exhibition of the school’s alumnae active between 1945-65, and 9th Street Club, and exhibition of Perle Fine, Helen Frankenthaler, Mercedes Matter, Grace Hartigan, Lee Krasner and Elaine Dekooning at Gazelli Art House in Mayfair. He is the editor of Formalism; Collected Essays of Saul Ostrow, to be published in 2020, and he will participate in the exhibition Anchor/Roots at the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art at Snug Harbor Cultural Center in 2021. He is represented by Geary Contemporary.

William is also an ArtSeen editor at the Rail. See all of his contributions »


The event will conclude with a poetry reading by Simone White

Simone White is the author of three collections, Dear Angel of Death, Of Being Dispersed, and House of Envy of All the World, the poetry chapbook, Unrest, and the collaborative poem/painting chapbook, Dolly, with Kim Thomas. Her poetry and prose have been featured in publications such as Harper’s Magazine, BOMB Magazine, Chicago Review, and Harriet: The Blog. Her honors include a 2017 Whiting Award in Poetry, Cave Canem Foundation fellowships, and recognition as a New American Poet for the Poetry Society of America in 2013. She has a JD from Harvard Law School, an MFA from the New School, and a PhD in English at CUNY Graduate Center.

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.