5th March – 17th April
The works of Ed Ruscha, one of the most influential and pioneering American artists of the past half-century, came to Timespan in March 2011 as part of ARTIST ROOMS, the important new public collection of international post-war and contemporary art that independent charity the Art Fund is helping to tour across the UK.
ARTIST ROOMS is jointly owned and managed by National Galleries of Scotland and Tate on behalf of the nation. ARTIST ROOMS on Tour with the Art Fund supported by The Scottish Government has been devised to enable this collection held by Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland, to reach and inspire new audiences across the country, particularly young people. This was the first time that work drawn from the ARTIST ROOMS collection has toured the Scottish Highlands in this way.
Born in 1937 in America’s Midwest, Ed Ruscha grew up in Oklahoma City. In 1956, aged 18, he set out for California, driving 1,500 miles west on the legendary Route 66. Arriving in Los Angeles, he enrolled at the Chouinard Art Institute, a Disney-sponsored art school where he studied fine art alongside typesetting and graphic design. At that time, abstract expressionism held sway in the classroom. Finding that this spontaneous, gestural approach left no room for his own ideas, Ruscha began to make paintings that were premeditated and planned, in which text and imagery from everyday life converged. By the early 1960s, he was perceived to have to have created a new form of visual landscape combining typography with commonplace objects.
Over the past half-century, Ruscha’s art has evolved in unpredictable ways. At the same time, the things that first fired his imagination – cinema and film; driving, roadside signs, and the flat, featureless landscapes of the American West; the city, filled with constant visual noise; the phenomenon of human communication and the pleasures of typography – remain the basis for his art.