"Certainly Los Angeles is a visually stimulated place and I continue to be amazed by its appearance/ events even after thirty-five years of rubbing up against it. On the surface, and I suppose below it as well, one senses indolence, mild hedonism and a feeling of general excessiveness. These factors, however, seem not to divert us unusually and contribute to a viable psychic environment. In my mind, artistic production is a unique mixture of subjective indulgence and personal discipline and Los Angeles provides an interestingly bizarre scale on which to test the weights of an appropriate balance."
Grant Rusk came of age as a photographer in the early 1970s, when the importance and meaning of photography as a fine art was widely debated in the art world. Through the establishment of several important graduate programs in fine art photography at the University of California's Los Angeles and Irvine campus, as well as the California Institute of the Arts and California State University, Fullerton, Southern California began to attract national and international attention for the diversity of photo based artwork produced in the region. Rusk was deeply influenced by an approach to landscape photography developed in Southern California that came to be known as "New Topographics."
Championed by Lewis Baltz and others, this style of photography focused on the rapid and oftentimes impersonal transformation of the Southern California landscape stimulated by an unprecedented boom in commercial and residential construction. Rusk's Hillside Living series examines various large-scale residential projects in the Santa Monica and San Gabriel mountain ranges from Malibu to Pomona. Rusk's austere and haunting photographs of carved hillsides and imposing support structure of hillside construction ask the viewer to question the implication of this development for the environment of Southern California.