- Edward Ruscha born 1937
- Potato print and colour pencil on paper
- Support: 172 × 162 mm
- ARTIST ROOMS Tate and National Galleries of Scotland
- Presented by the artist to Tate for ARTIST ROOMS 2014
Ring 2013 is a small potato print on Arches paper by the American artist Ed Ruscha. It depicts a red engagement ring with a large stone against a white background. Above the ring, nine short straight yellow lines appear in an arc as if to convey the sparkling effect of a gleaming jewel. It was produced in an edition of twelve plus eight artist’s proofs and one other proof. Tate’s copy is inscribed ‘Tate Proof’ in the bottom left-hand corner.
Ring is executed in a simplistic style, with shapes of flat colour and a large expanse of white paper behind. Ruscha produced the ring form in red acrylic paint using a stamp cut from a russet potato, and the yellow lines were made with coloured pencil. It has an authentic and jagged quality; a reflection of the roughness of the stamp and the difficulty of carving a potato into an intricate shape. It was made at the artist’s studio in Culver City, California.
Ruscha made Ring in the small edition as a unique bridesmaids’ gift for the wedding of his daughter, Sonny Ruscha Bjornson. The print offers a small insight into the artist’s character and family life, and the role of his artistic practice within this. Made using a stamp cut from a potato and colouring pencils – techniques most commonly associated with the informality and heart-felt effort of child’s play, rather than with fine art printing – it demonstrates the diversity of Ruscha’s artistic approach, standing in interesting contrast to the slick city landscapes. Potatoes also feature in work from earlier in Ruscha’s career (see Potato 1964, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago).
Ed Ruscha is best known for his works exploring the relationship between text and image, superimposing typed phrases over natural landscapes and traditional American vistas (see, for example, Pay Nothing Until April 2003, Tate AR00047; Daily Planet 2003, Tate AR00048; Periods 2013, Tate P20393; and History Kids 2013, Tate P20391). His printmaking practice involves a range of techniques including lithography, mixography and etching, while a systematic approach to photography has resulted in photobook projects such as Twentysix Gasoline Stations (Tate AL00229), in which he systematically recorded petrol stations along the Route 66 highway between Los Angeles and the artist’s parents’ home in Oklahoma City.
Mary Richards, Ed Ruscha, London, 2008.
Ed Ruscha: Fifty Years of Painting, exhibition catalogue, Hayward Gallery, London 2009.
‘Ed Ruscha – The Tension of Words and Images’, TateShots, 23 May 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoNePbo9DD0, accessed March 2019.
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