Feature Articles

February 2014

UNC-Greensboro in Greensboro, NC, Offers Works by Nancy Rubins

UNC-Greensboro in Greensboro, NC, will present Nancy Rubins: Drawing, Sculpture, Studies, on view at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, from Feb. 8 through May 4, 2014. A reception will be held on Feb. 7, from 5-8:30pm.

Nancy Rubins is known for her large-scale commissioned sculptures composed of boats and airplane parts as well as for her extraordinary graphite drawings - all elegant forms that adventurously confront gravity and transform materials into objects of extraordinary visual beauty.

This exhibition is the first to explore the relationships among her work in various media and focuses on the career arc of one of the foremost sculptors working today. Nancy Rubins: Drawing, Sculpture, Studies includes the major sculptural installation, Drawings & Hot Water Heaters (1991-95), small to monumental graphite drawings (dating from 1975 to the present), collages, bronzes, and studies for major outdoor commissions, accompanied by a number of short films by Michael Rudnick that document the fascinating process of their installation.

Among the works that brought Rubins early recognition are large drawings made of heavy paper coated with graphite. Constructed in parts, these works “perform:” cantilevering from walls and ceilings, wrapping around corners, and twisting in balletic movement, they defy the usual parameters of their genre and convey contradictory impressions of mass and lightness. In wizardly and paradoxical fashion, Rubins’ large-scale installations make bulky, pre-fabricated boats and plane parts seem delicate and nearly weightless. Further characterizing her work are a co-mingling of the muscular and the graceful and the combination of formal muster and conceptual wit.

Rubins’s work has been discussed in terms of the environment, recycling, and consumerism but in the end it defies categorization. In her essay for the exhibition catalogue, noted art critic and author Nancy Princenthal points out that Rubins does not set out to make literal statements about these topical issues but, rather, strikes “a practiced balance between sublime disaster and joyful regeneration.” Rubins is attracted to the beauty and potential of the airplane parts and boats that she uses: they are the starting point of content in her work. “At a certain point,” she says, “the content does fall by the wayside and a certain formalism sets in, but my initial interest in the object is very important.”

Accompanying the exhibition is a 168-page catalogue that is the major publication to date on Rubins’ oeuvre. In addition to reproductions of all works in the exhibition, the book includes images of her early work as a student at the Maryland Institute of Art and the University of California, Davis, her major public commissions, important installations, and numerous other drawings and collages. Co-published by DelMonico Books/Prestel, the monograph features essays by art critic and author Nancy Princenthal and Weatherspoon Art Museum director Nancy Doll, and an interview with the artist by Weatherspoon curator of exhibitions Xandra Eden.

“This is one of the largest projects the Weatherspoon has ever taken on,” comments director Nancy Doll. “We feel privileged to have worked closely with Nancy Rubins, her assistants, and galleries in realizing such a major effort that gives long overdue attention to an artist whose work holds a significant place in the realm of contemporary sculpture and has had a huge impact on the work of numerous other artists.”

Nancy Rubins earned her BFA from The Maryland Institute of Art, Baltimore, and her MFA from the University of California, Davis. She has received numerous awards and major commissions including Monochrome for Paris, Université de Paris Diderot (2013); Big Edge, CityCenter, Las Vegas (2009); Big Pleasure Point, Lincoln Center, New York (2006); and Pleasure Point, San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art (2006). Rubins was born in Naples, TX, and lives and works in Topanga, CA. She is represented by Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills and Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York.

Nancy Rubins: Drawing, Sculpture, Studies is made possible through the support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Dedalus Foundation, Inc., Gail Boulton, Jane and Richard Levy, the North Carolina Arts Council (a division of the Department of Cultural Resources), Fifth Floor Foundation, and the Weatherspoon Art Museum Association.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 336/334-5770 or visit (http://weatherspoon.uncg.edu/).

[ | February2014 | Feature Articles | Download Carolina Arts' Current Issue | Carolina Arts Unleashed | Home | ]







Carolina Arts is published monthly by Shoestring Publishing Company, a subsidiary of PSMG, Inc. Copyright© 1987-2014 by PSMG, Inc. which published Charleston Arts from July 1987 - December 1994 and South Carolina Arts from January 1995 - December 1996. It also published Carolina Arts Online, Copyright© 1998 - 2014 by PSMG, Inc. All rights reserved by PSMG, Inc. or by the authors of articles. Reproduction or use without written permission is strictly prohibited.