Cordy Ryman earned his BFA with Honors in Fine Arts and Art Education from The School of Visual Arts in New York in 1997. He is the son of artist Robert Ryman.
Ryman’s artwork is characterized by recycled wood and metal painted and reconstructed with sculptural elements, mimicking the traditional canvas in their display. The materials Ryman uses include wood, gorilla glue, scrap metals, studio sweepings, acrylic and enamel paints and other found objects. When working with wood, he often keeps the rough jagged edges visible. This creates a very tactile surface. Ryman alters the surfaces of his artwork to change the appearance but still allows for the character of the materials to be recognized.He sometimes combines mostly mute colors-white, silver, and creamy oranges- with small touches of bright hues on the edges and seams of his work. The end result is a fluorescent glow that is reflected onto the gallery spaces and the artwork itself. In a 2009 interview with Phong Bui in The Brooklyn Rail, Ryman says of his attention to the edges of his paintings: “I guess the main thing about the edges and the sides is that I think about them. In one way or another they are considered. When the sides are painted or accounted for in some way, it makes the piece as a whole seem more like a thing or an independent entity as opposed to a picture of something.”