91.4 cm x 609.6 cm (36 in. x 240 in.)
(New York City, 1922 - 2014, New York City)
North America, American
Medium and Support:
Acrylic on canvas
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of the artist, 2004
In the late 1950s, Edwin Ruda made frequent road trips between El Paso, where his fiancée lived, and Austin, where he taught at The University of Texas. He wondered then how one might paint the vastness of the west Texas landscape. After his return to New York City in 1960, Ruda drew on this experience as he began to explore “the possibilities of space related to the body” through oversized, dynamically shaped canvases that engulf the viewer, with colors that interact to produce what he termed “optic energy.” The blue lozenges that flank the corners of his twenty-foot diamond-shaped painting, Reo Reo, are meant to engage the viewer’s peripheral field of vision and evoke the sensation of moving down a road. The work’s title could allude to the space between two rivers—the Rio Grande and the Colorado—that Ruda traversed on his drives, or function as a tongue-in-cheek homage to his friend, artist Leo Valledor.