Sterling Ruby (b. 1972)
Four Videos: Hiker (2003), Agoraphobic (2001), Landscape Annihilates Consciousness (2002), Found Cushion Act (2005)
Ruby in Temper Tantrum / Intimate Death Magician (2003)
Transient Trilogy (2009)
Cartographic Yard Work: Dog Behavior (2009)
Sterling Ruby is quite versatile in regards to his aesthetic strategies and works in a variety of media—glossy and color-saturated poured polyurethane sculptures, drawings, collages, richly glazed ceramics, graffiti-inspired spray paintings, and video—maintaining a constant tension within a multitude of elements. His work engages with issues related to the violence and pressures within society, autobiography, and art history. 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.
Sterling Ruby was born in 1972 on Bitburg Air Base in Bitburg, Germany. He graduated in 1996 from the Pennsylvania School of Art and Design, Lancaster. Ruby received his B.F.A. in 2002 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, and his M.F.A. in 2005 from the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena.
Often drawing upon autobiographical, art historical or sociological sources, Ruby’s work is frequently referred to as ‘post-humanist’ – a term that broadly describes a society which, thanks in part to technological advancement, has evolved beyond fixed categories of being (e.g. time/place), or predetermining classifications (e.g. animal/human). The seemingly ‘incomprehensible’ visual range of Ruby’s practice thus embodies a schizophrenic, ‘post-everything’ state of perpetual fragmentation and synthesis. A world in which, according to Ruby, ‘there is just too much information for anything to be coherent or whole.’ His practice involves a combination of philosophical enquiry and material investigation, the latter involving the seemingly endless repurposing, combining and recombining of different techniques and media. This too mirrors a shifting condition of constant deconstruction and reconfiguration, and the idea of a non-hierarchical, boundary-less universe.
Sterling Ruby (b. 1972) lives and works in Los Angeles.