Matthew Ronay Explores the Internal Workings of the Body in Abstract Basswood Sculptures


#Matthew Ronay

March 6, 2024

Kate Mothes

“Duo” (2023), basswood, dye, 39.5 x 30 x 3.75 inches. Photos by Phoebe D’heurle. All images © Matthew Ronay, courtesy of Casey Kaplan, New York, shared with permission

The skin of the human body might be interpreted as a kind of soft container for everything on the inside: the skeleton and the organs or health and disease. We know our internal anatomy exists, but we can’t see it; we rely on signs that appear on the outside—bruising, a cough, lumps, a change in color—to indicate what might be going on inside.

In Matthew Ronay’s abstract sculptures, pieces of basswood are transformed into large-scale, undulating forms that evoke biological systems. In his forthcoming solo exhibition Sac, Cyst, Sachet at Casey Kaplan Gallery, many of the works stand nearly 50 inches tall, while the expansive “Doff” stretches more than eight feet wide. “Lyre” incorporates strings that connect a kidney or liver-shaped element to the surrounding fleshy framework, redolent of an instrument that needs regular care and tuning.

Rich dyes ranging from berry red to sea foam green to pale pink are selected by Ronay’s long-time collaborator, Bengü. A large red spot might be read as a pimple or a section of intestine-like latticework takes on a dappled, rash-like rose hue. “Forged through automatic drawing, high-speed rotary tools, and loose metaphor, each work divulges an abstracted inner place—bodily or otherwise,” says a statement for the show.

Sac, Cyst, Sachet opens March 7 and continues through April 13, 2024 in New York City. Explore more on the artist’s website and Instagram.


An abstract wood sculpture with pastel tones.

“The Rub” (2023), basswood, dye, epoxy, steel, shellac-based primer, acrylic paint, 47 x 15.5 x 12 inches

An abstract wood wall sculpture with fleshy tones and strings like a lyre.

“Lyre” (2023), basswood, dye, flocking, plastic, steel, primer, HMA, 49.75 x 35.625 x 2.75 inches

An abstract wood sculpture dyed white with black spots.

“Snag” (2023), basswood, dye, shellac-based primer, 26.88 x 19.75 x 5.75 inches

An abstract wood wall sculpture with various blue and pink tones.

“Doff” (2023), basswood, dye, flocking, plastic, steel, 66 x 97 x 4 inches

An abstract wood wall sculpture with fleshy tones and black areas, with egg-like sacs.

“Scandent White Ovoids” (2023), basswood, dye, shellac-based primer, 28.38 x 32.75 x 3.5 inches

An abstract wood wall sculpture with fleshy tones.

“Lover’s Hair” (2023), basswood, dye, plastic, steel, primer, 49.75 x 35.63 x 2.75 inches

A tall, abstract wood sculpture with fleshy tones.

“Remediating” (2023), basswood, dye, flocking, cotton, plastic, steel, HMA, 48 x 18.25 x 10.5 inches

An abstract wood wall sculpture with fleshy tones.

“Verger” (2023), basswood, dye, gouache, shellac-based primer, primer, plastic, steel, 26.75 x 19.75 x 5.75 inches

#Matthew Ronay


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