New York

Richards Ruben

Erickson Gallery

Diagonals are not new to Richards Ruben’s work: he has painted such bands on a grand scale for several years at least. Now, though, there is only one diagonal, and the scale of the work is much smaller. Also the diagonal is now a “cut.” As a line it is subtractive, not compositional or descriptive of any motif. In effect, it subtracts the surface from itself in order to make it the “image” of the work. It also cuts through the surface to expose the many surfaces and many colors that make it up. (The colors, often garish, often earthy, seem also to be added directly to the cut) As the surfaces and colors appear at the edges, the diagonal seems less a figurative line and more a literal edge—a necessary form. But it is only one element of Ruben’s drawing: there are also “bands” that lie on the surface along some of the edges of the painting. They seem to frame the work and mediate its status

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