Gideon Rubin The Anatomy of Seeing

A gentle surveillance

We understand that the paintings of Gideon Rubin’s are revealing, but what is disclosed has considerably less to do with the modest amount of apparel he paints, and more to do with the emotional veracity that the paintings carry.

Rubin’s gaze falls willfully on the nude, the landscape and the occasional flower. His attraction to the nude figure is never salacious, rather it is driven by a tender observation of domestic privacy and disarmingly acute judgement about the capacity for oil paint, linen and his undemonstrative touch, to conspire so as to deliver images that are apprehended through the heart and mind, perhaps more than the eyes.

Certainly, there are images that invite, or rather can’t, avoid nostalgia, but there is nothing mannered or strategic in his decisions. Rubin’s nostalgia simply acknowledges a quiet yearning for what might’ve been with what is. In this sense it is the deeper proposition of remembrance itself that drives Gideon Rubin’s paintings. These are works that coalesce both as subjects and objects to form a genealogy that we are all invited to share in. Ultimately Gideon Rubin’s prodding at our collective memory is undertaken to remind us what we have now. 

The potency of this contradiction lies at the heart of his painting – contemporaneity is not communicated through data and hi-resolution, rather it is his feeling for material and the restraint of his gesture, that allow these paintings to operate below the glare of fashion and the superficial interrogations of style – to let them be what they are – delicate, attentive observations of absence and memory, presence and celebration. AJ