Hosfelt Gallery (San Francisco) presents Red Boys and Green Girls a solo exhibition by Gideon Rubin from January 27 to February 19.
The paintings in Gideon Rubin’s seventh solo exhibition at Hosfelt Gallery reflect the zeitgeist of our COVID-defined world. Solitary figures, frequently turned away from the viewer, stand immobilized or move dreamily in blurry, indefinite spaces. Isolated and dislocated, the scenes evoke a realm of introspection and become meditations on the individual’s relationship to humanity.
Rubin interprets anonymous images he’s mined from the internet, vintage magazines, or scenes from French New Wave Cinema. Like the film director Eric Rohmer, to whose work some of these images refer, he’s more interested in the emotional state of his subjects, than what they’re actually doing.
The show takes its title from two series of paintings, each group of the same subject matter: a boy in a red shirt and a young woman wearing a green dress. In each set, it’s the same clothing and same pose. Only the scale of the paintings shifts. “What surprised me, as I made them, was how different each felt. Almost as if it was the same green dress but worn by a different person,” says Rubin.
Any series is an artist’s exploration of a subject matter that fascinates them. A series inevitably illustrates that the same thing, observed and interpreted repeatedly and at different times, will yield different conclusions. These works by Rubin are additionally meditations on the practice of painting, demonstrating how a few, sure brushstrokes can be used to suggest light falling on form, defining a mental state or conjuring a mood. Repeatedly painting the same figure with subtle variations, Rubin speaks to the fact that no one is the same person from moment to moment, and none of us is the same person today that we were in the autumn of 2019.