Edward Ruscha was born in Omaha, Nebraskain 1937. He is well known not only for his paintings but also for hisphotography and films. Ruscha's flat, textual paintings have been associatedwith both the Pop Art movement and the beat generation.
After living for fifteen yearsin Oklahoma City, Ruscha moved permanently to Los Angeles where heattended the Chouinard Art Institute from 1956 to 1960. By the mid sixties, theartist had published his first photography book, Twenty-Six Gasoline Stations,and had completed a series of paintings that displayed with great precision asingle word against a flatly lit background. Ruscha was associated at this timewith the Ferus Gallery Group, which also included such artists as Edward Moses,Ken Price, Robert Irwin, and Edward Kienholz.
From 1969 to 1970, he was aguest professor at the Universityof California. Ruschaproduced his first film entitled Premium soon following his time at theuniversity, and continued work on his textual paintings. Some works includesuch figurative and verbal symbols as egg yolk, blood, and gunpowder. Ruschaworked to connect linguistic symbols with visual idioms and to elevate them tothe point of the cosmic.
During the eighties, Ruschaexecuted a series of drawings incorporating vegetable pigment and depictingmysteriously cast light and phrases such as 99% DEVIL, 1% ANGEL. The artist'suse of light beams may be attributed to his Catholic upbringing; illuminationas a symbol of the divine comes into play in many of his paintings. Still, Ruschaclaims no particular moral or spiritual position. In 1985, Ruscha executed hisfirst public commission, a mural for the Miami Dade Public Library thatdisplays the phrase Words Without Thoughts Never to Heaven Go.
Since 1990, Ruscha hasproduced several larger works depicting empty rooms into which light projects.He has also experimented more recently with curved canvases. Edward Ruscha'swork has been shown internationally for thirty years, and is permanentlyrepresented in many major museum collections.
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