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Judge a Book by its Cover

March 22, 2011

I’ve seen some pretty awesome and ambitious work of late. The problem is that it has left me speechless. Not a great condition to be in, I trust you’ll agree, as the author of this blog. So it was with quite some delight that I encountered the intimate work of Ruth Greene.

Ruth Greene, Napping, 9" x 6", Acrylic and Ink on Plywood

Tucked away in a modest room / gallery, deep in the bowels of an expansive architect’s office is an exhibition of 8 medium scaled abstract canvases and 20 small paintings on 1/2 inch plywood panels each measuring no more than 9″ x 6″. It’s these latter 20 pieces that have a charm, integrity and elegance that strikes me as pitch perfect. Simply stated the paintings, if one can even call them that, are of imagined books covers. So the panels become objects, simulacra for the books they depict. This image to object shift is further heightened by the fact that the title reappears on the “Spine.” The titles are scrawled with a fainting hesitation in Ink. The visual effect of the lettering is somewhere on the plane between Duane Michaels, Saul Steinberg and Cy Twombly. Erasures and editorial second guesses are all part of work. The color palette is mostly muted but personal. The inventiveness has just begun.

You want to read these books. I mean regardless of who wrote it, Napping: An Autobiography is something I’d pick up immediately. Vaginas of the Colorado Rockies, Whether Permitting or Encyclopedia of Breezes are all volumes that stir my curiosity. The linguistic accomplishment is not to be underestimated because they lure, evoke and recede simultaneously.

My suspicion is that the success of the entire body of work lies in the balance between idea and execution. They are light but not to be trifled with. They appear effortless but their consistent literary and aesthetic resonance speaks of measured intent. Surprisingly 20 on display left me wanting to see more. And hours after, their wit and elegance still can conjure an effortless smile.

A few parting thoughts: Kudos to the Architecture firm of Marmol-Radziner for offering a clean well lighted space for this exhibition. I hope sincerely that their exhibition programming continues. The exhibition continues for a brief eight more days, address below. The hours, I believe, are Monday through Friday 9-5.

Ruth Greene

Marmol Radziner
12210 Nebraska Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90025
310 826 6222 phone

-Mario M. Muller, Los Angeles, CA

A few more to whet your aesthetic appetite:

  1. Michelle Dodrill permalink

    Great find, Herr Mueller!

    • Awesome that you found this. Keep reading, tell your art centric friends! subscribe if you like. Cheers,

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