Monday, 29 August 2011

Ed Ruscha

"Music from the Balconies"
Oil on Canvas, 1984

"Hollywood Tantrum"
Pastel on Paper, 1979

"Dirty Baby"
Graphite, Acrylic and Pastel on Paper, 1977

"The Final End"
Acrylic on Canvas, 1992

"Miracle #64"
Pastel on Paper, 1975

Acrylic on Paper, 1998

I saw a great show of Ruscha's work a couple of years ago at the Hayward, and I fell in love with his work there and then [in fact it would have been ideal research material for my degree show work but I only found that out 6 months too late!] I was super excited when I discovered that Wolverhampton Gallery is currently showing an exhibition of his work as part of the Artist Rooms Scheme!

I love the ideas behind his work - the faded glamour of Hollywood and the slow death of an industry, there was a great quote in the gallery info saying that his work responds to to life in "ultimate cardboard cut out town" and deals with the falseness and excess of Hollywood, it's culture/lifestyle, and refers to L.A as the city of signs of bright lights, he also points out the disillusionment of realizing that the famous Hollywood sign is merely held up with sticks...

I like his use of contrast and conflict too: in "Hope" there's the jarring of the words meaning and the dark menacing splatter/spray of black paint which is engulfing the word. There's a similar juxtaposition in 'Music from the Balconies" where the beautiful serene countryside scene is overlaid with unsettling text taken from J.G.Ballard's 'High Rise', the defacement of such a beautiful scene is almost a metaphorical act of violence in itself.

and you've just got to love the inclusion of a rabbit!

More information on the exhibition can be found on the gallery's website

Picture Credits: Tate

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