Robin Ryder creates artwork that is a reflection of his experiences traveling through Peru, India, Mexico, and the U.S. while working as an archaeologist and anthropologist in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. For a number of years, he focused on sculpture, drawing, and painting using non-traditional materials such as animal skulls, cake icing, layered photographs, and found supports, in addition to more traditional materials. These works focused on the material world, and they often had content representing social themes such as gender-stereotyping. In the 1990s, he became interested in creating smaller and more intimate portable sculptural pieces, and he began making jewelry. These works are influenced by and sometimes allude to ancient textile, metalwork, and stone-setting techniques. Some pieces exaggerate or challenge traditional construction techniques (such as prong settings) used by jewelers, in much the same way that his corner paintings from the 1980s challenged the two-dimensionality of paintings. His recent paintings follow from the threads mentioned above, and, in some cases, grow directly out of those concerns. His teapot paintings are about formal art concerns, specifically color, shape, and the play between foreground and background/flatness of the picture plane, but they are also expressive of his joyful, humorous take on everyday material objects which fill up our lives as indicated by the use of color and the cartoon-like quality of the teapots and their shadows.
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