Gagosian is pleased to present Notepads, Holograms and Books, an exhibition of works by Ed Ruscha and Jonas Wood, two artists who explore the nature of the real and the represented, language and image, writing and typography. The exhibition includes paintings, holograms, and hand-modified books by Ruscha, and new paintings by Wood.
In Ruscha’s work, the traditions and techniques of graphic design and the restrained artistry of typesetting serve as vehicles for the commutation between picture and word, sign and signifier. He superimposes text and image across media: from billboards to books, from screens to paintings and holograms. With the reverence and technical mastery of a trompe l’oeil painting, Fanned Book (2012) depicts the turning pages of a bound volume with marbled endpapers. Elsewhere, Ruscha’s text paintings of phrases such as “OH NO” migrate to the spines and fore edges of actual books. Small works on canvas show granular, individual typeset alphabetic letters—examining the form, as much as the emblematic function, of the phoneme—and a hologram proclaims “THE END” in stylized letters on what appears to be vellum, making light projection resemble an archaic art. Through a shifting exchange of abstraction and figuration, the book in all its forms pervades Ruscha’s investigations of the nature of language and the distribution of information.
For Wood, shifts in scale push the limits of traditional painting genres. The still life, a recurring theme in his work, has been the subject of abstracted enlargement before. In public commissions, he has covered the facades of buildings with vivid paintings of potted plants, the overlapping leaves, shelves, and cylindrical vases taking on the grandeur of a rainforest or cityscape. In Notepads, Holograms and Books, logotyped and trademarked desk notepads are enlarged to become wall-covering canvases, which act as backdrops for paintings. Typographic emblems, such as “Gagosian Gallery” and “Maritime Hotel,” are silk-screened onto canvas, mimicking the original format of the signature-branded notepads. The impulse for these works originates in Wood’s habit of drawing on hotel and office stationery. Transposed from small drawings to large-scale compositions, the subjects of the paintings range from foliage and drawings his child made to abstract jottings that record running poker debts. The works thus straddle private and commercial zones through disorienting compressions of space and a deep attunement to patterning and color. Wood’s visual language finds a new iteration, playing between the portable and the monumental, between traditions of print and of paint, between inventions of his own and oblique responses to Ruscha’s peerless precedents.
Gagosian Quarterly Fall 2019
The Fall 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring a detail from Sinking (2019) by Nathaniel Mary Quinn on its cover.
Ed Ruscha: A Long Way from Oklahoma
In conjunction with his exhibition VERY at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark, Ed Ruscha sat down with Kasper Bech Dyg to discuss his work.
An exhibition at Gagosian, Paris, is raising funds to aid in the reconstruction of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris following the devastating fire of April 2019. Gagosian directors Serena Cattaneo Adorno and Jean-Olivier Després spoke to Jennifer Knox White about the generous response of artists and others, and what the restoration of this iconic structure means across the world.
Veil and Vault
An exhibition at the Broad in Los Angeles prompts James Lawrence to examine how artists give shape and meaning to the passage of time, and how the passage of time shapes our evolving accounts of art.
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2019
The Spring 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Red Pot with Lute Player #2 by Jonas Wood on its cover.
Course of Empire
Ed Ruscha sat down with Tom McCarthy and Elizabeth Kornhauser, curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to discuss the nineteenth-century artist Thomas Cole, whose Course of Empire paintings inspired a series of works by Ruscha more than a century later.