There’s an intriguing duality in Ruby’s practice, with the brutality of metal and polyurethane clashing with an ongoing body of soft sculpture. These sewn and stuffed works are often figurative, alluding to recognizable forms: a candle, for instance, or the open maw of a vampire. “The soft sculptures, in many cases, hang from the ceiling, and appear limp,” Respini said. “[Or] they’re strewn on the floor, and perhaps they might even be read as corpses.” The curator recognizes a certain “limpness and deflatedness” in these pieces, in stark contrast to the muscular strength of other Ruby sculptures.
Often, the textile patterns themselves (like a repeating print of the American flag) have an ironic bite. One motif Ruby has returned to several times—in soft sculpture, as well as in other media—is that of the so-called “husband pillow.” This common domestic good, which makes it easier to sit up in bed and read a book, becomes something darker in Ruby’s hands; he stacks the shapes one atop the other, making them into something alien. “It alludes to polymorphous sexuality, as well as something as abject as The Human Centipede,” Gartenfeld explained. “It gives a nice insight into the play of the comedic and terrifying [in Ruby’s practice].”