- Sterling Ruby
- 245 x 214公分；96 1/2 x 84 1/4英寸
Private Collection, New York
Sotheby’s, Doha, 13 October 2014, Lot 16
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Alongside the indisputable contemporaneity of Ruby’s practice, the artist also considers himself part of the continuous narrative of painting, and acknowledges the influence of the giants of Abstract Expressionism: “Rothko’s work is charged with an important spiritual power, it influenced me a lot” (Ibid., p. 102). The immeasurable depth of Mark Rothko’s shimmering canvases are indeed mirrored in SP186 as is the influence of Jackson Pollock through the all-over abstract pattern of stippled sprays of pigment on the work’s surface. Via hazy fields of paint, SP186 knowingly invokes the sublime metaphysics of Abstract Expressionism. Set against a black background executed in Ruby’s signature spray-painted sfumato technique, the crystal-clear drops of paint that rupture the calm washes of pigment create a dazzling suggestion of depth. Executed in a commanding format, SP186 at once embodies the heroic scale of Action Painting and echoes the vast magnitude of the artist’s industrial studio in Los Angeles.
Having spent his student life between an initially formal and then an altogether theoretical art education, Ruby’s painterly language has its roots in this background. With either extreme resulting in artistic dissatisfaction, Ruby has, over the years, formulated a powerful artistic vocabulary that has succeeded in seamlessly fusing the material and formal act of painting with a theoretically sophisticated understanding of its contested territory. Throughout his multi-faceted career, he has experimented with a vast range of media, including painting, collage, sculpture, installation, and video – in each instance embracing culturally devalued mediums or repurposing discarded materials. Through his extensive exploration of the painterly potential of graffiti, SP186 epitomises Ruby's unique artistic language in which 'low' methods of mark-making are appropriated and re-evaluated. With its misty layers of spray paint and a persuasive suggestion of space, this painting is an arresting example of Ruby’s provocative practice.