NANCY RUBENS has been making mixed media abstractions on canvas and paper using acrylic paint, glued papers and found materials for many years. More recently she has focused primarily on works on paper, including a series of collages on old book covers. Having often worked pages of books into her collages, Rubens was drawn to the patterns and markings on the worn insides of the hard book covers. In the days of Kindles and iPads, books are becoming a part of our history, and transforming them into something new while honoring their past is a natural progression.
The book covers provide an opportunity to explore what’s hidden and what’s seen, what’s old and new, what’s been held, read, and remembered in the past and newly imagined and created in the present. The books’ titles and text are unseen and forgotten, and the covers that once contained and concealed the contents now reveal a different “story” made up of bits and pieces combined to provide new meaning in an old context. The edges of folded over fabric on the covers frame the images.
The pieces are about the passage of time, human intervention and experience, nostalgia and memory, but also about renewal and looking ahead to forming new experience.
Rubens lives and works in New York City and Wellfleet. She received a BA at Connecticut College and later studied at the Art Students League of New York, where she eventually focused on collage while studying with Leo Manso. Later, she was inspired by Mike Mazur while studying monotype with him at the Fine Arts Work Center. More recent exhibitioins have been at Kathryn Markel Fine Art, Lori Bookstein Fine Art, Susan Eley Fine Art and Cheryl Pelavin Fine Art in NY, at Yale University, Cherry Stone Gallery, and at the Cahoon Museum of American Art.