David Katzman's Reviews > The Tree Show

The Tree Show by Mark Ryden
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Feb 19, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: all-time-favorites
Read in February, 2009

Mark Ryden is one of the world's finest living artists, and his new collection is perhaps his most brilliant. Previous pieces certainly stand out as individually superior, but as a whole this collection is his most powerful. I was rather breathless paging through this book, and i think it moved me because it was his most thematically tight and yet emotionally expansive show.

Ryden takes cartoon dreams and gives them real life dimensionality. The detail goes beyond obsession into a magical realm of "that's not fucking possible." His paintings are windows into an alternate reality conjured with such commitment and patience that they become hyper-real. I feel like i could step right into them. And, in fact, several of his paintings inspired scenes in my current novel. This book is a treasure.

Here is the painting from The Tree Show featured on the cover of the book:

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01/11 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

remember those books when we were kids where they actually photographed dolls in little custom dioramas and those were the "illustrations"? this reminds me of that.


David Katzman i don't think i ever saw a book like that. But it sounds weird...


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)


David Katzman nice. i never had a book like that. looks like it would be a fun project for a kid to actually do.


message 5: by Susan (new)

Susan David, I haven't seen this book, though wanted to mention I recently saw three of his works at the Armory Show in NYC. A girl, a bear, and a girl (in that order). The frames evoke a crown of thorns. Beautiful stuff. As you know his books don't do his work justice, however, of all his work I've seen in person, these three pieces resonated with me most. Perhaps because of their simplicity (relatively speaking).


David Katzman Wow! How cool. Unfortunately, i've only gotten to see one of his sketches in person when i was out in L.A. visiting a gallery. The owner pulled this sketch out of the back to show me. He told me that The Creatrix, the last huge piece Ryden had done a few years ago sold for something like $500,000.


message 7: by Kim Annabella (new)

Kim Annabella ha, I was just looking at the special edition of this on his website and contemplating a purchase.


message 8: by aaron (new)

aaron love his work!


message 9: by Petra Eggs (new)

Petra Eggs Less a medieval Madonna and Child and more a sexy Bratz doll and her baby. Nice. Last week I spent a couple of hours in the National Gallery in London looking at medieval art and I think this would have fit in nicely - as counterpoint and irony.


David Katzman Hahah. Nice, Petra. Ryden combines "high" and "low" culture mercilessly. I think he is indirectly pointing out the only distinction between the two is pretension.


Kelly H. (Maybedog) I was about to delete this from my books but I saw your rave review. the cover illustration kind of gives me the creeps and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I do remember those books the first commenter here describes and they creeped me out, too. I can't find this book at the library and can't afford it, so the point is really moot.


David Katzman There is definitely a hint of creepy (or a lot of creepy) in many of his paintings. You might try his more recent collection instead: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... The Snow Yak show is perhaps his most uplifting work.


Kelly H. (Maybedog) Ok, I checked and my library system doesn't have any books by him, but I just found that the other library system I have access to (that I don't usually frequent) has this one. So I'll leave it on my list. I may have to see if B&N has it so I can flip through it at the store. :)


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