Acrylic, oil, and cardboard on canvas
40.6 x 30.5 (cm)
16.0 x 12.0 (inch)Born in 1972, Sterling Ruby is an artist who uses a wide range of aesthetic strategies in his practice, from saturated, glossy, poured polyurethane sculptures, to drawings, collages, richly glazed ceramics, graffiti inspired spray paint paintings, and video. His work is a balancing act, maintaining a constant tension between a multitude of elements. It deals with issues related to the violence and pressures within society, and art history, even as it also reflects his personal history. In all of his work, he vacillates between the fluid and static, the minimalist and expressionistic, the pristine and the defaced.
The WIDW paintings (an acronym for ‘window’) are executed in acrylic, oil paint, and collaged fragments of cardboard and textile on canvas. Gestural and thickly applied oil paint, in expressionistic and jarring color palettes, veer into the obsessive, the unbalanced, in contrast to the graphic fabric and cardboard that bisect the canvases. These vertical elements echo the “zips” of Barnett Newman. They also evoke recurrent themes in the Ruby’s work: horizons, grids, flags, prison bars, windows. The vantage point is deliberately ambiguous. Like Rorschach tests, we are left to determine for ourselves whether these are apocalyptic visions of a burning world, or the internal projections of the human mind.
Ruby’s solo exhibitions include Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2008), FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, Reims (2012), travelling to Centre D’Art Contemporain, Geneva (2012) and to Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rome (2013), Winterpalais, Belvedere Museum, Vienna (2016), De Moines Art Center, Des Moines (2018) and Nasher Sculpture Center (2019). His works are included in the collections of Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tate Modern, London; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Moderna Museet, Stockholm among others.