Ed Ruscha’s Pop Prints: Conversational English, Car Culture, and the American West
Crown Point Press that includes three new etchings, two earlier prints, and a 2009 portfolio. Here, Ruscha shows an eclectic selection of his oeuvre, including a landscape, homages to highways, and two-word idioms.
In the new set of prints, Ruscha uses pairs of rhyming words that appear to shrink or recede into the center of the page, which is divided by a thick, unprinted band. The prints are made as flat-bite
As with peers such as saying “I have always felt attracted to anything that had to do with that phenomenon of people speaking to each other . . . so I visually took that on as material.”
Ruscha’s 1982 print Indecision uses three phrases laid over one another, as if a person’s thoughts were trampling over one another. Rendered in three different sizes and in different colors, they remain distinct, creating a cascade of visual layers, similar to the fore-, middle-, and background of a conventional
Movement, of text and of people (especially in cars), is an important motif for Ruscha, who looks as closely at space as he does the page. Motor City, a 2009 portfolio of aquatints, commemorates the freedom of the open highway by using the typographic and iconic logos of U.S. car companies, and specific models: Ford, Chevy, Cadillac, Chrysler, and others. His love of the open roads, skies, and land of the West is condensed into these precise symbols. As in all of Ruscha’s work, letters and signs take on more than their concrete meaning, and yet are abstract and free.
“Ed Ruscha” is on view at Crown Point Press, San Francisco, Apr. 7 – May 29, 2015.
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