Monday, 24 October 2011

Ed Ruscha - High Spots

The event began with an introduction by Anthony d’Offay who spoke of describing the Wolverhampton exhibition to his friend, Ed Ruscha and describing it as 
“beautiful, distinguished and you’ll like it a lot” 
On seeing the exhibit, Ruscha responded by exclaiming “I love it!”

The two long-term friends then proceeded round the exhibition stopping to discuss the various works on show. The first to be discussed was Metro Plot. 

Rucha described this painting of Los Angeles as an oblique view that is anonymous. He went on to comment about making a work that he described as being very universal.

The tour moved to one of Ruscha’s mountain paintings ‘Daily Planet’. The artist described the work as having “a mysterious and teasing title”. He reminisced about starting work on mountain views in the 1990’s, with a notion of making pictures by using words and painting them in some way. 

“A mountain was a perfect foil for what was happening in the foreground. The images based on photos and movies were a collage in my mind of what a mountain would be like – it could be any mountain, anywhere”. 

The next work was inspired by J. G. Ballard’s ‘High Rise’. Ruscha described the book as disturbing and compelling and spoke of taking a section of the work that deals with troubles that can arise from a life of disorder in the environment – this segment of the novel, Ruscha saw in the form of a picture.


Anthony d’Offay 
“Think of how you annunciate this word Ed” 
“Ohhh Kaaay” said Ed Ruscha “I am just a yes man” he continued.

Ruscha was questioned about the lettering in his work and he commented that he had set out to create something that is easy to make using straight lines – a lettering style that he has called ‘Boy Scout Utility Modern’.

20th Century Fox is perhaps one of Ruscha’s most well known works. He described it as reminding him of the triumphal feeling at the beginning of a movie – trumpets blowing and blaring lights. 

“It possesses this megaphone effect I love, a shouting out in a certain way” This painting was juxtaposed in the exhibition with ‘Gasoline Station’. 

“I spend little time agonising over colour as I possibly can – sometimes I see in black and white, sometimes I see in colour” 

One of the next works to be discussed was Hollywood.
“My studio was on Western Avenue and I could look out of the window and see the sign that had once said ‘Hollywoodland’. I would view this and sometimes it would be very smog laden. I used it as a barometer – if I could see the sign, it was not such a bad day”. 

“My work is done with brushes, stencils and every trick in the book – sometimes I use projection, sometimes no – every picture is different” 

Talking about his thoughts on Ruscha’s work ‘Some pretty eye’s and some electric bills’ Anthony d’Offay commented that
“I always thought that this was a good definition of marriage”. 

Ruscha’s first book was published in 1962 and he still makes books and has done consistently, but with some dry years.
“ I can see how artists would be ‘turned on by the tactile qualities of making books” Ruscha commented.

This exhibition is on until 29th October

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