Ariel Rubin

Ariel Rubin

Work from the series Decomposition and Box of Fools (statements and work in their respective order).

Statement for Decomposition:

“We have a tendency to think of ourselves as separate from nature. We assumethat anything found in the natural world is unrefined, pure and uncontrolled. We make similar assumptions about photographs as a portrayalof truth. 

In both nature and photography this belief is often fictitious. Both arestrongly affected by the conditions in which they were created. There isalways a viewpoint behind a photograph and there is human influence now onnearly every part of the planet.

These photographs are about the dichotomy they express. They are images of arepresented world and at the same they are simple delicate objects. Theyshow us a view of nature and are printed on plastic. They have beencarefully honed by hand and yet the process of creating them was chaotic anddifficult to control.

The distortions in these images express a question I continue to ask as anartist: How much do we have power over and how much is natural andintuitive? These photographs, hand printed through negatives that wereliterally scratched and burned, call into question some of our assumptionsabout nature and art. By peeling back the layers we are given the chance tocreate our own truth, one that may or may not sit just below the surface.”

Statement for Box of Fools:

“As humans we have a fascination with the face. Portraiture is an ancientpractice in art yet we never seem to tire of watching each other. Brokendown, we all have the same basic features, so why is it that we can’t seemto get enough?

These images started with Shakespeare’s character of The Fool. The Fool’srole is to mock, to contradict and in the end to allow the audience to seelayers of the story which would otherwise be hidden. The Fool must alwayswear a mask and so I have painted the faces of my subjects. By making upthese faces, a paradox is created. There is a layer hiding each face, yet atthe same time they are revealed at a deeper level, through the focus that isdrawn upon each of their many nicks and flaws. Each portrait is a blendingof opposites, old and young, comic and sad, male and female.

I want these images to remind the viewer of the vast history of portraiturewhile simultaneously pulling their attention to the quality of thephotograph. It is the large format of the images, crisply printed and deeplysaturated which allow us to see the details of the subjects.

In the end it is not the makeup, the box or the red ruffle that holds ourattention. It is the gaze of the subject. Each life of pain, joy and fearappears in the eyes of the Fools who draw us in, simultaneously mirroringour own lives and questions.”

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