Executed in 2008, the same year as Sterling Ruby’s first solo museum exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Grid Bias 1 and Grid Bias 2 embody the artist’s celebrated urban aesthetic. Comprising hallucinogenic layers of oil paint in a combination of vivid and muddied hues, the works capture the spirit of street graffiti that would go on to inform his large spray-painted (SP) canvases. The works’ kaleidoscopic surfaces are disrupted by elements of cardboard collage: an element central to Ruby’s oeuvre. The process of layering and superimposing his media speaks directly to his fascination with the vandalism practiced by street gangs in his home town of Los Angeles. Working from his studio in Hazard Park, Ruby was inspired by the incessant dialogue between the gangs’ territorial ‘tagging’ and the obfuscating efforts of the city’s anti-graffiti team. ‘I started painting again when I saw this’, he explains (S. Ruby, quoted in The Painting Factory: Abstraction after Warhol, exh. cat., Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2012, p. 190). With their inscrutable textures and patterns, Grid Bias 1 and Grid Bias 2 bear witness to the influence of this gritty urban drama.