Take a look at one of Sterling Ruby
’s fluorescent spray paintings and it will likely make you see something else. In the hazy horizontal stripes of color, from grays and blacks to rose pink and emerald green, one might see a cross section of muscle or skeletal tissue under a microscope; the surface of an extraterrestrial planet; a broken television humming with static; or maybe just a Color Field painting. The inspiration behind these works, however, lies elsewhere—literally, on the horizon. The new suite of spray paintings that collectively form the exhibition “VIVIDS
,” at Gagosian Gallery
’s Hong Kong space, were inspired by the sky, particularly the smoggy Los Angeles sky that engulfs Ruby each day, as he drives into and out of the Downtown area where his studio is housed. For the artist, the daily commute has become a ritual; a recurring journey through which he has witnessed countless sunrises and sunsets, beckoning hours on end of contemplation. The resulting abstractions are intriguing, fresh compositions that transcend any particular geographic or cultural lexicon, making them especially fitting for the Hong Kong space. These glowing beacons, lined up along the walls of the stark white Pedder Building, look out onto a new horizon, and across the Asian continent at this moment, several other simultaneous exhibitions of Ruby’s works do the same.