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SP272 (1), SP272 (2)

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spray paint on synthetic canvas
160 x 235 1/4 x 2 in. (406.4 x 597.54 x 5.08 cm)

About This Artwork

Sterling Ruby’s paintings SP272 (1) and SP272 (2) form a massive diptych of an apocalyptic sunset, a span of gritty splendor almost forty feet in length. These are foreboding surfaces, portraying a disaster soon to come or just coming into view. The paintings are largely abstract, except for the line that crosses the center of each, forming a smoky horizon and recalling a dystopic landscape. Ruby makes these works by emitting dozens of cans of spray paint onto the canvas while intuitively calibrating their overall effect. He describes the process as thousands of gestures becoming atmosphere, an idea inspired by the call-and-response exchanges between the graffiti writers and the city’s white washers near his first studio in Los Angeles. For Ruby, this is a move toward the chaos and flux that serves as the root of art making. He seeks a transitional state, the space between freedom and imprisonment in which the contemporary self often resides.

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