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Gideon Rubin: Moon Above Water

Installation view, Paris 2024. Photo: Nicolas Brasseur
06.07.24 - 07.09.24

Galerie Karsten Greve Paris, France

Tuesday - Saturday: 10 am - 7 pm

Opening
on Saturday, July 6, 2024, from 6 pm to 8 pm

The artist is present.

Press kit
Installation view, Paris 2024. Photo: Nicolas Brasseur
Installation view, Paris 2024. Photo: Nicolas Brasseur
Installation view, Paris 2024. Photo: Nicolas Brasseur

A small, cream coloured moon, half obscured by a ribbon of cloud, hangs low over a body of water. Rothko–esque in its composition, the canvas is divided in three bands of blue. Abstract in nature, it is only the presence of the moon - a neat dot amongst broad strokes - that pulls the image towards its final, figurative interpretation.

Similarly, it is another small detail - the inimitable curve of tubular steel - that anchors the 2024 painting “Pool” in the world of figuration, providing context and meaning to the blocks of colour that surround it.

Blurring the boundary between abstraction and figuration has become a central theme in the work of Gideon Rubin, who examines, through each painting and every series, how these seemingly opposite styles converge.

As a young painter, Rubin produced portraits – slow, laborious and steadfastly figurative – but, over time, he became both more dexterous and more loose; able to convey the mood of a person without detailing the exact profile of their face, capturing the sense of movement rather than the exact creases in a piece of clothing.

In this way, his paintings reflect something of how human memory works - all softened edges and lost details, feeling over fact. We remember things the way we wish them to be remembered - be it a person, an experience, a film or a place - and it is this trick-of-the-mind that Rubin investigates through his work. Through a process of simplifying and editing, the painter breaks each image into its component parts – blocks of colour and tone that can be reassembled as a lucid and familiar image, or something a little more ambiguous.

Installation view, Paris 2024. Photo: Nicolas Brasseur
Installation view, Paris 2024. Photo: Nicolas Brasseur
Installation view, Paris 2024. Photo: Nicolas Brasseur

Painting several canvases - dozens, even - at the same time, a conversation develops amongst these works-in-progress as they hang together on the studio wall. Certain affinities appear amongst the subjects - the landscapes and still lives, portraits and scenes - and narratives emerge, disintegrate and evolve through their myriad combinations.

Sourced from books, magazines, films and the internet, Rubin draws his imagery from this collective memory – this bank of images that we each put into and take from – which both contains and reflects all of human history and culture.

More recently, Rubin has been creating paintings from his own photographs, fleeting images and snapshots from his phone. Also included in the exhibition, are a number of canvases that were painted from life – the model in the studio – which marks a return to painting the human figure rather than a representation of it.

Despite their disparate origins, the subjects are linked by the act of choosing: they each contain something that connects with the artist, expressing something of his own perspective on the world. The images are drawn together thematically too, each possessing a palpable sense of the quotidian. Rubin’s subject matter is the stuff of life: the views and vistas glimpsed from a window or on screen; the people lost in conversation or in thought; a day at the beach; the first cherries of the season.

Painting scenes that are ephemeral yet repeatable, Rubin depicts moments that are gone forever but that are inherently cyclical in nature.

The woman will return to her book,
The anemones will bloom the same deep red next year,
And the moon will appear again tomorrow, above the water.

Rosanna Robertson, may 2024

Exhibited works

Artists

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