Sterling Ruby’s work engages with issues related to the violence and pressures within society, autobiography, and art history. Drawing on diverse aesthetic strategies and mediums—glossy and colour-saturated poured-polyurethane sculptures, drawings, collages, richly glazed ceramics, graffiti-inspired spray paintings, and video—he maintains a constant tension within a multitude of elements. 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.Read More
Ruby was born in 1972 on Bitburg Air Base, Germany. He graduated in 1996 from the Pennsylvania School of Art and Design, Lancaster, and went on to receive a BFA in 2002 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in 2005 from the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California. Recent solo exhibitions include CHRON, Drawing Center, New York (2008); SUPERMAX 2008, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2008); Grid Ripper, Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Bergamo, Italy (2008–2009); SOFT WORK, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva (2012, traveled to FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, France; and Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm); CHRON II, Fondazione Memmo Arte Contemporanea, Rome (2013, traveled to Kunsthalle Mainz, Germany); DROPPA BLOCKA, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Sint-Martens-Latem, Belgium (2013); Baltimore Museum of Art (2014); STOVES, Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Paris (2015); Belvedere Museum, Vienna (2016); and Sterling Ruby: Ceramics, Des Moines Art Center, Iowa (2018, travelling to Museum of Arts and Design, New York). Ruby’s work is featured in museum collections worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; 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; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Quebec; Tate, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and Moderna Museet, Stockholm.
Ruby participated in the Taipei, Gwangju, South Korea, and Whitney Biennials in 2014; and Made in L.A. 2016: a, the, though, only, the Hammer Museum’s third biennial.
Ruby lives and works in Los Angeles.
Text courtesy Gagosian.
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