Conn Ryder

Conn Ryder Photo.jpg

I paint from the gut.
For me, abstract painting is a personal exploration.  Through the painting process, I turn myself inside out, in a sense, to transform my emotional realm into a perceptible domain. My expressive work is the discernible manifestation of my core language - brought forth from internally assimilating, then outwardly fashioning the emotional response to the experiences, observations and backdrop of my life.  Continued >


Videos   -   Exhibitions   -   Publications   -   Awards  -   Collections



I convey that emotional essence to an observable platform by way of a painter’s lexicon – color, form, space, texture, line, movement - and finesse those elements much like seeking the right piece to complete a puzzle.  As I fill a blank canvas with an onslaught of arbitrary paint strokes, splashes, drips and mark-making, that essence comes to the fore as the image begins to, in a sense, speak to me -- at turns beguiling and confronting me. An exchange of sorts unfolds, as I get immersed in a rhythmic blur of advance and retreat, flow and stagnation, defiance and submission, discord and collaboration. I search for that moment of sensing synchronicity between how I feel and what has been revealed on the canvas.

A visible fusion of the emotive exchange materializes and I realize the canvas was an analyst, a mentor, a gadfly, a cohort - and ultimately a mirror to my emotional nature. My hope is that if I’ve created a painting that feels authentic and impactful for myself, that someone else may recognized some hint of their own emotional nature in the work and that it may touch them in the same way that a particular song can reach deep or a moment in nature can feel harmonious.

Conn Ryder was drawn to and garnered praise for her art from an early age.  But it was an incident during a high school drawing class that expanded her way of thinking about art.   Assigned to create a pencil drawing of a shoe, Conn sorted through a box of old shoes and, after choosing a clean white Keds sneaker, tied the laces in a neat bow and began sketching. Noticing this, her teacher lunged toward her desk and heaved the sneaker across the room where it hit and bounced off the wall.  He wildly dug through the box of shoes, eventually pulling out an oversized, raggedy, high-topped basketball shoe with the tongue half ripped off and shredded shoelaces. He slammed the tattered shoe down in front of Conn and said "Draw this! This shoe has character!" Conn created the best drawing she had done to date and received an A+ for her efforts.  More importantly, she walked away with a lesson in seeing the character, interest and beauty in the least obvious places.

Conn's formal art education includes fashion illustration at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and painting at the Kansas City Art Institute.  Once during college, Conn's instructor led a group of art students into the painting studio to show them a large vibrant abstract Conn was working on.  The instructor pulled the painting out of the storage slot, only to discover the previously colorful canvas had been covered with thick, black paint.  Conn later explained that out of frustration, she painted the entire surface black, and in doing so, freed herself from the creative fetters of the previous image.  The next afternoon, she feverishly scraped back into the black surface, reworking areas as she went and uncovered a more complex and texturally varied abstract that suited her sensibilities. The instructor said she knew then that Conn was a true artist. 

Conn later turned to representational painting, attending painting workshops with Daniel E. Greene and Joan Potter.  She sold her representational still lifes and received portrait commissions, but as other aspects of her life began to take over, Conn's artistic pursuits became sporadic at best or placed on the back burner altogether. Though the course of her artistic evolution zigzagged through fashion illustration, representational art and at times was suspended, by age 50, Conn found her way back to the abstract painting that resonated in her core. Since that time she has painted with dedication to cultivate her own unique artistic voice.

Her abstract paintings have been included in regional, national and international juried exhibits, and she was featured in Acrylic Artist Magazine Winter 2016 edition. Since 2016, Conn’s work has been presented in three solo shows and two invitational group exhibitions, including the prestigious Colorado Women in Abstraction exhibition at the Center for Visual Art in Denver, Colorado.  Her work -- represented by Leopold Gallery in Kansas City, MO -- was selected by show host, Tamara Day, to be shown on a new DIY Network show "Bargain Mansions" that premiered Nov. 15, 2017. .Conn is currently represented by galleries in Atlanta, Georgia; Des Moines, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri.



  Kansas City Art Institute, 1989-90

  Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, 1975-77

  Johnson County Community College, 1986-88




  Solo exhibit as part of "Four Solos" * June 2-30, 2017; Moberg Gallery; Des Moines, IA

  Conn Ryder * Selected Works; April 1-29, 2016; Front gallery space at Point Gallery; Denver CO

  Conn Ryder * Selected Works; May 1 - 31, 2016; Rear gallery space at Point Gallery; Denver CO




  Winter Group Show; December 1, 2017 – February 22, 2018; Moberg Gallery; Des Moines, IA

  Winter Group Show; December 2, 2016 – February 20, 2017; Moberg Gallery; Des Moines, IA  

  Colorado Women in Abstraction; Group exhibition; July 15 - October 1, 2016; MSU Center for Visual Art; Denver CO




  Spring Art Exhibit; City of Brighton Eye for Art Program; Brighton, CO 2016

  Holiday Art Exhibit; City of Brighton Eye for Art Program; Brighton, CO; 2015

  2014 Governor's Art Show; The Loveland Museum; Loveland, CO; 2014

 The ART of it ALL 2: International Juried Exhibition; SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts; Pagosa Springs, CO;

     Nov '13-Jan '14

 11th Annual Lone Tree Art Exhibition, Lone Tree Arts Center, Lone Tree, CO; 2012

 Celebrate Colorado Artists! The Madden Museum of Art, Greenwood Village, CO; 2012

 The "Women" Show, CORE New Art Space; Denver, CO; 2011

 The Wide Open Whatever (WOW) Show; CORE New Art Space; Denver, CO; 2011

 Midwest National Abstract Exhibition VI; The Garfield Park Arts Center, Indianapolis, IN; 2010

 COLOR-ado !; Chautauqua Community House, Boulder, CO; 2010

 All Colorado Show 2010, Depot Art Center & Gallery, Littleton, CO

 The Artist's Choice  The Lakewood Cultural Center; Lakewood, CO; 2010

 Wide Open Whatever (WOW) Show; CORE New Art Space; Denver, CO; 2010

 13th Annual "Lines into Shapes" National Art Show; Art Center of Estes Park; Estes Park, CO; 2010

 All Colorado Show 2009; Depot Art Center & Gallery; Littleton, CO

 From the Garden  LAC Community Art Center & Gallery; Lakewood, CO; 2009

 The Artist's Choice  The Lakewood Cultural Center; Lakewood, CO   2009

 Vistas Lakewood Arts Council; LAC Community Art Center & Gallery; Lakewood, CO;  2009

 Westminster Faire Art Show, Westminster, CO; 2008

 Art of the Absurd; Ec-Lec-Tic Art - Contemporary Art Experiments; Denver, CO

 Portraits, 'Scapes & Still Lifes; Ec-Lec-Tic Art - Contemporary Art Experiments; Denver, CO

 Women Artists Only;  Ec-Lec-Tic Art - Contemporary Art Experiments; Denver, CO

 11th Annual Oklahoma Artist's Workshop Juried Show; Tulsa, OK

 Blue Valley & the Arts Home Tour & Fine Arts Show; Leawood, KS



  Acrylic Artist Magazine Winter 2016; Feature artist article "Flower Power"; Pgs 34 - 41

  Acrylic Artist Magazine Winter 2016; "Painter's Palette / Conn Ryder"; Pg 112




  My work -- represented by Leopold Gallery in Kansas City, MO -- was selected by show host, Tamara Day, to be

        shown on a DIY Network show  "Bargain Mansions," premiering Nov. 15, 2017.

 Collector's Choice: Conn Ryder — KIRSTEINFINEART blog;

  Featured Artist — Artsy Shark; Dec. 28, 2015;

  Artist Spotlight — City of Brighton Eye for Art Program for the week of Nov. 9, 2015; The Denver Post Hub article.

  Featured Artist — Sept. 11, 2015;;

  Featured Artist — Sept. 2, 2015; "Abstract Art. Daily Artsy Paintings" on The Artsy Forager;

  Featured Artist — May 2, 2014; Transform the World Artistically blog

  Featured Artist of the Month — April 2013; Denver  

  First Place Award Watermedia - 11th Annual Lone Tree Art Exhibition; Lone Tree Arts Center, Lone Tree, CO;

        October 2012

  Featured Artist —  American Talent Magazine, December 2011 Online Edition

  Featured Artist — Denver Talent Magazine, November 2011 Online Edition     

  Merit Award — The Artists Choice 2010; The Lakewood Cultural Center; Lakewood, CO

  Merit Award — The Artists Choice 2009; The Lakewood Cultural Center; Lakewood, CO

  Merit Award — Westminster Art Show; Westminster, CO; 2008



  Leopold Gallery; Kansas City, MO

  Moberg Gallery, Des Moines, IA / Chicago, IL

  Pryor Fine Art, Atlanta, GA




  Colorado Legislative Services, LLC

  First National Bank of Sioux Falls; Sioux Falls, SD

  Mercy Medical Center; Des Moines, IA

  Northwestern Mutual; Des Moines, IA

  Dr. & Mrs. Shawn Caldwell; Wheat Ridge, CO

  Don & Linda Childears; Denver, CO

  Melanie & Kent Layton; Conifer, CO

  Ms. Carol Mendenhall; Leawood, KS