Ed Ruscha - The tension of words and images - Tate Shots

7 min   |   Feature

Ed Ruscha began his career as a layout artist at a Los Angeles advertising agency in the late 1950s. He has continued to draw on this background, producing works that demonstrate an ongoing interest in typography, signage and the West Coast of the United States.

He creates paintings in which text is superimposed over landscapes and traditional American vistas, where the bold lettering is in complete opposition to the idyllic, idealised and somewhat kitsch representations of the images. Through this playful and characteristically enigmatic conflation of image and text, Ruscha explores the viewer's interpretation of language and transforms the words into subjects in themselves.

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