exeter – There are many words used to describe our emotions. Likewise these same words are used in depicting the interactions with those who participate in the lives we live. To those of us for whom art has become an indispensable piece to living; it becomes once more these same words that trace our personal exploration into the artistic experience. I’m not speaking of coming upon that piece of art with just the right composition the proper use of technique and color that catches our attention and that in time will accomplish little more than decorate the wall it’s hung upon. I’m speaking to the special relationship developed between the artist and the viewer. At this intersection there becomes a shared experience; that moment of “intimacy.” This is the moment Abby Rubinstein, the artist, strives to achieve. This is the emotion Rubinstein embraces as she starts to paint. This is the word she uses herself to bring “purpose” to her work. As she starts to compose a piece, Rubinstein begins by looking for “movement, color or atmosphere that corresponds with my innermost emotions,” she said. “I use this as my vehicle, bending it and developing it until it speaks for me and meets others with whom it can have a conversation… The turn of a head, the wrinkle in a sleeve, the flip of a finger, the transition of one color to another can be unbelievably expressive of attitudes and emotions… I believe that a true work of art transcends time… a true work of art contains an indefinable element that touches a main spring of intuitive response within a viewer and affects a very intimate meeting. It’s that intimate meeting that I seek when I paint.”
We all begin somewhere and for Abby this was at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York. In 1943, she was 15 years old. Following her first year of study she would learn of earning a scholarship from her teacher John Bindrum (noted painter, teacher and lecturer) who had secretly saved her work toward that purpose. As her studies continued, there would be numerous prominent artist/teachers such as Joseph Presser, Francis Chriss, Rufino Tamayo and George Pippin. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Rubinstein saw one special chance to broaden her obvious talent. For many of us, the great museums in New York are an eagerly anticipated destination; for Rubinstein, with the luxury of spending a great deal of time at the New York Museum of Modern Art, this opportunity would become an influential piece in her development as an artist. She became instinctively drawn to the expressionist painters and over the years this would become the style that now defines Rubinstein as a painter.
By age 23, she was married and leaving New York. She traveled across the country to Los Angeles and began studying for a time at the Otis Art Institute with famed muralist and painter Leonard Herbert. In L.A. for 15 years—and now with two children—she found that she was on the move again. In 1966, she headed south on the way to a small pueblo in Mexico with her husband and noted artist Jules Rubinstein. It is here during the next ten years that she developed her technique as well as her style and, together, Abby and Jules embraced their growing reputations as fine artists while entertaining many international visitors and art collectors to their home and studio. During this time in Mexico Abby and Jules were invited to represent the city of Guadalajara with an inaugural cultural exhibition of their work for the 1968 Olympics. An excess of 3,000 people visited this exhibit over nine days and their reputations continued to expand.
In 1976, Abby’s international reputation was presenting new opportunities as well as a new role as lecturer. With her husband, she spent a year in Israel while she lectured on expressionist art and philosophy. There would be, however, one more move in Abby’s journey following her time in Israel.
The Rubinsteins crossed the Atlantic once more, back to the United States and settled in Visalia while Abby completed her masters in fine arts at the University of San Francisco. A new career kept her in Visalia, where painting continued to sustain her. She has embraced many roles as lecturer, teacher, wife and mother but always an artist. And at 88, she can still be found in her studio for several hours a day.
While in Visalia, Abby has shown her work in numerous galleries throughout the Valley and California—not to overlook her many national and international exhibitions throughout her career. Often these displays of work are accompanied by her lectures on the painters and a philosophy underlying the expressionist style.
The Exeter Gallery of the Arts is proud to become part of Abby’s continuing resume.’ On show will be her most recent canvas “A Kite” as part of her continuing “journey” series as well as many current and older works in the main gallery during March and April.