Someday, Sometime, Somewhere: New Works by Paula Rubino
Opens Thurs. Feb. 5, 6-8 p.m.
On display through March 9
Ann Long Fine Art
54 Broad St.
There are many forms of art. But no matter how many shapes it takes, one can always recognize art in its classical sense. Painters like Rembrandt, Caravaggio, and Da Vinci remain artistic benchmarks. Trained at the Florence Academy of Art, Paula Rubino's work retains a traditional appreciation. She focuses on the arrangement of people, the space between them, and the objects surrounding them.
The Ann Long Fine Art Gallery, where Rubino's work is now displayed, is the perfect setting. Rustic wood covers the floor while small antique chairs rest politely in corners. Gray colors the walls and warms the room. It is a welcome reprieve from the stark white seen in most galleries. The comforting space complements Rubino's work, as does the comforting familiarity they create when viewing them.
The work holds a different attitude than traditional paintings. She is less concerned with anatomic detail and skin tone. Her brushstrokes are loose and free. In one smaller piece, "Riika Up Front," they stop all together at the bottom of the woman's bodice. The oil paint dissolves into blank linen. The sudden change lends a humanistic appeal to the painting. The imperfection in her work relates better to the subjects she paints.
They are all women, mostly paired off. None are smiling and many face away from each other. However, the effect this creates is not a dismal one. They are calming and thought-provoking. In several works, the solid background is pastel and cheerful. Peach, turquoise, and light blue, each in separate paintings, are layered thickly behind the figures.
"Impasse" is one of these. Two girls sit facing opposite directions and it's clear there is a rift between them. The seriousness of the scene is swept away by a wave of turquoise blue that swirls around them, filling in the large expanse of linen canvas surrounding them.
There are four still-lifes and one landscape among Rubino's new work. Although they are lovely scenes, they do not compare to the stature of the women she paints.
Her human subjects have an intimate, ethereal sense about them. Soft and brushy, they draw you in. Rubino's traditional classic style has found its own modern direction without losing its roots.