Sterling Ruby, Selected Works presents a series of collages, spray paintings, prints, bronze, fabric and urethane sculptures from the artist’s interdisciplinary repertoire.
Ruby’s critique of minimalism and its repressive and rigid lines have resulted in his exploitation of the limitations of form, scale and materials. His highly diverse works unapologetically deal with the constant conflicts of contemporary society, specifically the dynamics between the desires of the individual versus the confines of societal structure.
Ruby’s bronze, fabric and urethane sculptures fight the restrictions of minimalism and its aim to represent objects with no personification. The dripping Vampire mouths from his Soft Work series juxtapose the terror of the subject with the playful connotations of the medium through the predominant use of humour and theatricality. Another key work presented in this exhibition is undoubtedly Ruby’s bronze sculpture, Headcleaner Headhunter. Ruby’s monumental bronze sculptures are poured in smaller sections, which he later welds together. This broken-down process means the works retain a rainbow patina, which sculptors generally hide by grinding the joining welds out of what later becomes the final piece. However in Ruby’s case, these welds are an inherent characteristic of his bronze sculptures and remain visible throughout.
His urethane sculptures of smeared dye captured in thick translucent urethane and the scratched, defaced blocks they stand on, certainly allude to Ruby’s interest in graffiti art and penchant for street culture in general. The tensions between decoration and defacement are epitomised in a series of spray paintings, which led him to distance himself from the traditional loaded paintbrush on canvas, favouring instead the use of aerosol spray. The darker palette of this particular series is certainly a demarcation from his commonly bright, vibrant and sometimes garish use of colour.
The collages from the BC series included in this exhibition repurpose scraps of different types of fabrics, both questioning and blending the boundaries between craftwork and painting. These recent bleached denim collages with scraps of quilts and patchworks can be seen in relation with Ruby’s earlier transcompositional collages on plexiglas featuring images of both pre- and postoperative transsexuals splattered with blood-red nail varnish. The commonly used “dripping effect” acts as a stain disparately drenching these gendered collages.
This exhibition presents key works from Sterling Ruby’s vast repertoire and celebrates his multidisciplinary talents, whilst equally creating a dialogue between both his older and his most recent works within the same space.
Sterling Ruby lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Major recent solo exhibitions include, Supermax 2008, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2008), CHRON, Drawing Center, New York (2008), the travelling exhibition 'Soft Work', which opened at Centre D'Art Contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland (2012) and travelled to FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, Reims, France (2012) 'Soft Work' is currently on view at Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden and travels to Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rome, Italy in May 2013.