LA-based artist Sterling Ruby rose to international prominence with a truly diverse practice spanning painting, sculpture, collage, quilt-making, textiles, ceramics, installation, video, clothing and fashion design. Conflating art history with contemporary visual culture, Ruby examines the psychological space between personal expression and social constraint. Through a profound absorption in philosophical enquiry and material experimentation, he questions whether it is possible in today’s visually saturated and seemingly incomprehensible world to be singularly focussed, fully coherent and current all at the same time. In keeping with this, he has cited a large range of influences and drivers behind his work including graffiti, physical labour, masculinity, archeology, globalisation, incarceration, waste and consumption, hip-hop culture, schizophrenia, craft and punk.
ECLPSE (RGB) (2015) is part of the ECLPSE series – a group of large-scale collage works created from cardboard salvaged from the artist’s own studio floor. By recycling these cardboard floor coverings into cut out shapes and then painting them in predominantly primary colours, Ruby expresses his desire to connect with the historical lineage of Suprematism, as well as to the history of his own studio and productive endeavour. The collective title of these works playfully points to the overlapping of pure shapes, the eclipsing of suns and moons, as well as to how art movements (and each body of an artist’s work) are themselves eclipsed by the next.
Collage and the repurposing of materials have been central to Ruby’s practice from early on. This is evident in ECLPSE (RGB), but also in his recent and much publicised activity within the fashion industry. Having collaborated with fashion designer Raf Simons in 2014 to create a fall/winter menswear collection, and then subsequently designing the Calvin Klein 205W23NYC flagship boutique in New York in 2017, Ruby launched his own fashion label S.R. STUDIO. LA. CA. in 2019. Exploring garments as an artistic medium, Ruby has likened the process of dressing as an activity, essentially, akin to the concept of collage.