Sterling Ruby, SP288, 2014. Spray paint on synthetic canvas, 243.8 x 213.4 x 5.1 cm. Photo by Robert Wedemeyer. Courtesy Sterling Ruby Studio and Gagosian Gallery.
I live in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and my studio is in downtown Los Angeles. My daily routine of driving back and forth is always a contemplative time. On these drives I often witness extremely vivid and colorful sunrises and sunsets, yielding horizon lines that transform the urban sprawl into a meditative celestial plane.
HONG KONG.- Gagosian Hong Kong is pleased to present “VIVIDS,” an exhibition of new spray paintings by Los Angeles-based artist Sterling Ruby. This is Ruby’s first exhibition with the gallery.
Ruby engages a wide range of aesthetic strategies and mediums—glossy and color-saturated poured-polyurethane sculptures, drawings, collages, richly glazed ceramics, graffiti-inspired spray paintings, and video—maintaining a constant tension within a multitude of elements. His work engages with issues related to the violence and pressures within society, autobiography, and art history. Throughout he vacillates between fluid and static, minimalist and expressionist, pristine and dirty. Of the diverse forms that constitute his oeuvre the paintings are the most formally abstract. Ruby has long been influenced by the sociological implications of urban demarcation, vandalism, and the power struggles of gang graffiti. In his paintings, acts of defacement are transformed into a painterly sublime.
VIVIDS is a new suite of spray paintings in a vibrant, fluorescent pink palette. The resulting electric color fields are Ruby’s ruminations on the shifting, multi-hued Los Angeles skies that he encounters en route to his studio. He engages the horizon as his subject using an approximate and speedy medium befitting the gritty urban context, fixing sprays into multiple dimensions alla prima, without pausing for touch-ups or to catch drips. Undelineated forms merge with hazy backgrounds and atmospheric magenta layers, producing meditations of uncontained voltage on an ever-shifting horizon line, which asserts its radiant presence beyond the physical picture plane.
Sterling Ruby was born on an American air force base in Bitburg, Germany in 1972, and lives and works in Los Angeles. Public collections include Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and Tate Modern, London. Solo exhibitions include “CHRON,” The Drawing Center, New York (2008); “SUPERMAX 2008,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2008); “Grid Ripper,” Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Bergamo, Italy (2008-09); “SOFT WORK,” Centre D’Art Contemporain, Geneva (2012, traveled to FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, Reims, France; Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm; and Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rome); “CHRON II,” Fondazione MEMMO, Rome (2013, traveled to Kunsthalle Mainz, Germany); “Droppa Blocka,” Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Ghent, Belgium (2013); and “Sterling Ruby,” Baltimore Museum of Art (2014). Ruby’s work was included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial.
Ruby will be featured in “The Los Angeles Project” at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2014); “Taipei Biennial 2014” at Taipei Fine Arts Museum (2014); and “Gwangju Biennale 2014: Burning Down the House,” Gwangju (2014).