In a dramatic move away from different forms of representation Ruff has recently began to create abstract works using digital technology. While looking for source material for the nudes series Ruff realised that photographic images, particularly those available on the internet, no longer simply depict reality, but are representing visual stimuli transmitted directly by electronic means. In order to explore this visual nothingness, Ruff scanned pages from comics, layering different images together and multiplying the images onto themselves. By making it impossible for the viewer to draw out any sense of what the original image may have been Ruff has created works more or less devoid of meaning.
The Substratum series presents spectacular abstract compositions of intense colour, and, to some extent, they epitomise the complex relationship between photography and painting, abstraction and representation that has preoccupied Ruff throughout his career.