As a child growing up in Los Angeles, Ry Rocklen was particularly interested in the overlooked and unseen, the lost and the abandoned. This interest has persisted and developed into the foundation of his artistic practice. Rocklen’s current work consists of the reclamation and exaltation of found objects and materials. Through simple alteration and addition the abandoned and discarded are given a second life as sculpture. Through these alterations Rocklen seeks to intensify the poetics, pathos, and mystery embedded in ordinary things.
The found objects used as the basis of Rocklen’s sculptures are often combined with other materials in an effort to preserve and protect them. This act of preservation is meant to slow down the effects of time, both literally and perceptually – literally in the sense that within the context of the art world these objects will be cared for, and perceptually in the way one can “lose track of time” when involved in something of great interest.
The effects of time are celebrated in these sculptures in their making and the way the objects have deteriorated over the years. The threadbare and worn out might be covered with mosaic tiles or nails, foregrounding the labor put into the sculptures, and showcasing the artistry as an act of devotion.
Rocklen was born, raised, and educated in Los Angeles, California. He attended the California Institute of the Arts and University of California-Los Angeles for his undergraduate degree and received his MFA from the University of Southern California. His work has been exhibited in Greece, Belgium, Switzerland, New York, and Los Angeles. Along with a string of solo shows, Rocklen’s work was included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial, the 2009 Athens Biennial in Greece, and Second Nature at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.