New York

Edward Ruscha

Robert Miller Gallery

Edward Ruscha’s latest works have a wonderfully artificial memorableness to them. Like the best of a certain kind of photograph, they make the banal seem significant, evoking just enough to suggest something emotionally profound and vaguely sublime. But they’re not photographs; they’re black-and-white paintings of simple, stark, slightly out-of-focus scenes, with the graininess and melodramatic contrast of early Hollywood films. The effect is simultaneously ironic and expressive. The irony is sometimes conveyed in the title, such as Nothing Landscape, where the “nothing” is the space between two trees. In most of the works, irony and expressivity are both compounded by blank, rectangular bars of white that interrupt the atmospheric surface and block or “censor” parts of it, as in The Joshua, Shut This Gate, and Drugs, Hardware, Barber, Video, or by words spelled out in large white letters

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