BENNINGTON -- Visual artist and art educator Melissa Rubin will display her new paintings and works on paper, entitled "Still/Standing," at Southern Vermont College’s Burgdorff Gallery through April 18. The Burgdorff Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from 1 to 4 p.m. The artist will be available at a reception on Saturday, March 29, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Gallery, which is free and open to the public.
Living by the ocean in Rockaway Beach in New York City has greatly influenced Rubin’s art: from the light and tones of the open sky, beach and water, to the structures of abandoned barracks, bunkers and ammunition sheds on an old Army base, Fort Tilden, in the nearby Gateway National Park.
Her current series of encaustic mixed media work focuses primarily on this neglected and damaged architecture and on elements found in nature. Rubin’s creative process begins with capturing images of these buildings with a camera. By stepping back, she sees the physicality of these structures for what they are: alone, hollow, crumbling, what once was possible and is now full of potential. Through a process of embedding the photos and layering encaustic and paints, damaged spaces are renewed bringing attention to the ground they are planted on and the space above and around them. Rubin’s aim is to bring a sense of calm and wisdom to these spaces; they are places to come to rest, both physically and emotionally, allowing the viewer a moment to reflect, looking upward and inward.
Having experienced, first-hand, the intensity of the damage wrought by changing weather patterns when Hurricane Sandy hit Rockaway in October 2012, it is her goal to communicate the physical and emotional trauma of natural disaster and the sense of powerlessness that ensues. "Still/Standing" reveals the instinct that inspires the search for healing and ways to move forward.
Rubin has widely exhibited her work for over 25 years at venues including the Tiffany Peay Gallery, Ferber Gallery, Museum of the City of New York, POWERHOUSE Arena, Rockaway Artists Alliance, Bank Street College, Japanese Consulate and The New York Public Library in New York; Albuquerque International Airport in New Mexico; and Golden Key Gallery in Oklahoma. Her art is in the permanent collection of the Encaustic Art Institute in New Mexico and has been used on film sets. Many of her works are in private collections in the United States and Europe.
In October 2012, the Rockaway Peninsula was inundated by the 14-foot surge of ocean from Hurricane Sandy, which caused severe damage to her home and studio. She survived the devastation by creating art, which was displayed in the New York City exhibition, entitled "After Affects: An exhibition of Work by Artists Affected by Hurricane Sandy. She was interviewed by CBS This Morning’s news segment, entitled "The Art of Healing." Her painting, ‘Sinking,’ was featured in April 2013’s "ARTnews Magazine," in the article ‘When Storm is Collaborator.’
Rubin is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts ‘Hurricane Sandy Relief Grant,’ and a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. She will be exhibiting her work at the John Molloy Gallery in New York City in September 2014.
Rubin has taught at several institutions including Manhattan College, Fordham University and The School of Visual Arts New York.
She received a Master of Science degree in Education from Bank Street College of Education in New York and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York.