Los Angeles

Edward Ruscha

Ferus Gallery

There is a remarkable tension about this show. No room here for amateurs; sybarites keep out. These are coldly brilliant canvases whose perfection of technique proclaims a hermetic self-sufficiency, an almost depersonalized aloofness. The tension comes in at that “almost.” Personality, not through painterly gesture or expressionistic distortion, asserts itself in the surreal clamps and torn western magazine that Ruscha aggressively and ironically adds to his obsessive order, intrudes via the deracinated, the unconnected, the literally conceived object.

The paintings divide into two groups. First, and most impressive, are the two large landscapes which mythologize the heart of peregrinating America—the filling station. Standard Station, 10c Western Being Torn in Half presents a surgically steril image in red, white, and vivid light blue. The vacant station is painted as a lunar architect’s

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