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Russ Rubin

Painting | Drawing

My current series, ‘Temporary Cure for Existential Dread,’ aspires to induce your daze. These paintings are at once visual moments of peace and invitations to adventure, worlds into which the viewer might hurl themself, if only for an instant. In the crushing wake of a failed novel, I stumbled onto a curiously contoured vintage frame at a VFW tag sale in the Hudson Valley. This I traced onto panel and cut out with a jigsaw before drawing straight to the wood, following at times the native grain, then deviating completely and painting in with tans, blues, and burnt reds, smoky pinks and sages, leaving windows onto the wood before filling with frosted black and patterning to taste, resulting in a collision of the natural and subconscious worlds as seen through the dusky desert prism of my mind. Following this thread has combined my deep-seeded love for the hunt, for the old, the vintage and discarded with my need for visual exploration and diversion in the face of said novel, the pandemic, and screaming unsleeping children, resulting in the weird portals you see here, designed, perhaps, for nothing so much as my own escape. The idea that these hunks of wood, paint, and old frames might achieve that for you, that you too might find a sense of respite in these works, the menthol numb of a mindless stare off into the distance, bucks me up for the next search and dive into the great grainy unknown.



Russ Rubin (b. 1983) is a painter of abstract landscapes from the exotic woods of New Jersey. Working summers in the family factory in Newark, he’d stare out the bullet-holed windows, sketching with his finger in metal dust on an old punch press, dreaming up his future as the Jewish Jean-Michel Basquiat slash center fielder for the New York Mets. With the latter failing to materialize and art school shot down by his factory rat father, he fled for New Orleans, and eventually Los Angeles. There he waded his way through the cesspool of the music industry, emerging at the center of the east side indie scene of the later naughts. Designing logos, posters and album covers for the bands he managed led to a Creative Director gig with a fledgling promoter, and from there he began to reconnect with his lost dreams of schmearing the paint. Russ’s work has been acknowledged by the MOMA, acquired by the Jeff Koons Collection, shown at Ground Floor, Swartley, and White Space Galleries, and at the YouTube Space NY.


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