Gagosian Paris presents “Tom Sawyer Paintings,” a presentation of 10 new paintings and a hologram by artist Ed Ruscha. The artist’s first solo show at the Paris gallery is inspired by Mark Twain’s iconic 1876 novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. By way of pure wooden slats, Ruscha invokes a significant event in the novel; Sawyer, morose with the idea of having to whitewash a fence on a Saturday afternoon, deceives his friends into doing the work for him. The artist uses an abstract form of expressive text and poetics in the horizontal, vertical, and diagonal placement of the wooden slats. Ruscha is no stranger to creating with, and in the name of, the elemental material. “When I do a plank of wood,” Ruscha said, commenting on paintings Plank (1979) and Plank in Decline (2007), “I’m painting a horizontal landscape, or I might be painting a picture of wood that I see when I go to the desert. The idea of deterioration and age and all that.” Alongside the “Tom Sawyer Paintings,” the artist exhibits three additional new paintings—Guardrail (2021), Metro Petro Neuro Psycho and Tilted Metro Petro (both 2022)—and a hologram of Metro Petro text.
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