Nancy Rubins is best known for her ability to transform industrially manufactured objects, such as boats, mattresses, and playground toys, into monumental, commanding installations. Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Monochrome I, Built to Live Anywhere, at Home Here, which can be found outside at the entrance to the museum, is an example of such works. Rubins’s drawings are dense, three-dimensional creations that challenge the medium’s typical association with the delicacy of line and, like her sculptures, appear to defy gravity. She covers every inch of the paper with her markmaking materials, in this case graphite, and then often folds, layers, and creases the paper. The result evokes draped fabric or crumpled metal and conveys a distinct pictorial character within its monochromatic surface sheen. At first glance, this work may appear to be weighty and steel-like. Up close, the viewer may notice the ways in which the edges of the paper curl to reveal the imperfections beneath. However, even the scuffed and smudged underside of the work radiates energy—begging us to reevaluate the transformative power of the pencil.
Label from Drawing: The Beginning of Everything, July 8–October 15, 2017