I lived in Brooklyn for most of my life and so when we moved to Columbus so I could join the faculty at Ohio State in 2010, It took some real getting used to. My wife is less enthusiastic about it, but I think Columbus is a great place to live (and a pretty boring place to visit). It has everything New York doesn’t for someone of my socio-economic resources: we own a house that’s affordable; I converted my 700 square foot garage into my studio; my son walks to the good local public school; we have a dog and a garden and all these petit-bourgeois comforts that in Brooklyn seemed to be the domain of the ultra-rich. I know this is all so cliché, but it really is all true, as is, of course, the mind-numbing middlebrow nature of Columbus. Shitty chain restaurants, strip malls, box stores, Republicans, mega-churches and pick-up trucks abound. And in keeping with this, driving is a huge part of life here. For me, this includes several trips back and forth to New York a year, and the small paintings I made for Ethan’s show are from cellphone pics I took while cruising through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio this summer. I’m interested in a few things about the drive: the light, the relation of land to sky, the road pavement and its markings, how the medians and roadsides are managed, and, most of all, the anonymous buildings that line the expressways. Sometimes hidden by landscaping, other times presenting themselves with misplaced grandeur, these are the physical proof of our precarious and flimsy economy: transfer stations for supply chains, small factories for light manufacturing, chain motels, medical complexes, ex-urb strip malls and industry headquarters. They are typical signifiers of American culture: rooted in commerce, utterly interchangeable, temporary, and ubiquitous.
George Rush lives and works in Columbus, Ohio. Recent solo projects include Assisted Living at the Dayton Contemporary; Walls with Windows at Ross Museum of Art at Ohio Wesleyan, Anteriority, in six parts at CLEA RSKY in Brooklyn, and Several new paintings based on photographs taken at the Barcelona Pavilion in 2017 at Belle Island Viewing Room in Detroit. Recent group exhibitions include DUST: The Plates of the Present at Centre Pompidou, organized by Jo-ey Tang and Thomas Fougeirol, and Between Bust and Boom: Artists in the Slack Years, 1990-2005, Columbus Museum of Art, curated by Daniel Marcus. He is a recipient of a NYFA grant, a Pollock-Krasner fellowship, and, last autumn, spent two months in Dresden, Germany as a Greater Columbus Arts Council fellow. He is an Associate Professor of Art at The Ohio State University.