Ed Ruscha
HOT, RIP, STOP, 1987
Oil on canvas
56 x 56 inches
Courtesy the artist

Set against an atmospheric background of layered blue paint, the white words "HOT," "RIP," and "STOP" in Ed Ruscha's painting draw immediate attention. In what context would these words make sense? Like Pop artists Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, Ruscha is known for incorporating text into his visual work. Early in his career he created images that naturally contained words: cityscapes featuring the "Hollywood" sign and California gas stations complete with all their signage. Eventually, Ruscha began removing words from their contexts, placing them against backdrops of solid color or unrelated images. When asked where he finds his phrases, Ruscha said, "They come out of mystery, the mystery of the brain. To try to explain is a fruitless effort."

Web site: http://www.edruscha.com