SOLO

exhibition

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Rubell

Roxy

UNITED STATES

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“While my works reflect different styles, their commonality lies in my use of elements such as dynamic use of color, a sense of movement – and presentation of subject matter that engages and evokes a wide range of emotions.”

I’m a New Hampshire-based, self-taught painter and my medium is acrylic on canvas and canvas panel. Ideas for both my portrait and abstract paintings are triggered by myriad influences including literature or magazine articles I’ve read as well as pop culture, music, people, animals, and nature. In other words, LIFE and the world around us. As well, I use painting as a way to reflect and intertwine a wide spectrum of emotions linked to my own life experiences of the past, the present and the future – and the anticipation of what might be waiting down the road in the future.

Finished in late December 2020 as the COVID-19 vaccine was starting to become available and the world was beginning to drag itself out of the pandemic, the painting’s bright, upbeat tone hints at the hope for better days ahead and a fresh start in the coming new year. The textured bursts of coral are the gateway color and the connector to a spirited composition of color; textured black on black, yellow on blue, streaks of yellow green, splashes of green gold, and swipes of sap green.

Where it all started…

My grandmother’s name was Yvonne Pache. She was French, a fashion designer and an oil painter, studying with Joseph Pilage and Gustav Trois. She didn’t start painting until her 50’s, taking it up to help alleviate the onset of severe rheumatoid arthritis and she found some success. Her work was showcased in exhibitions at the Smithsonian, the Corcoran Gallery – and on the walls of my childhood home. Subsequently, I grew up being surrounded by her finished paintings which left an indelible impression on me, instilling an appreciation for use of color. I was fortunate to also witness their creation once she moved from Guadalajara, Mexico to Swanzey, New Hampshire (where we lived). She taught me some basic drawing techniques including drawing boundary lines as a tool to establish proper proportion when sketching faces – mainly women’s faces for some reason. However, I never took it seriously enough to take formal art classes.

Weiland

Acrylic

$1,400

Weiland was inspired by a 1960's Winston cigarette ad - but I flipped the script. Here is a modern-day cowboy wearing flamboyant clothes and nail polish. That this cowboy turned out to resemble the late Scott Weiland, leadman for Stone Temple Pilots, was unintentional but I felt like it captured his spirit – edgy and uninhibited – just like the cowboy in purple velvet pants – hence the name of the painting.

And then…

While I was a senior at Skidmore College in Saratoga, NY, I took my first art class – charcoal drawing. This was clearly not a class that taught basics of drawing – which is what I needed most. Needless to say, the teacher wasn’t impressed with my attempts at trying to sketch the anatomy of the nude models and wasn’t all that helpful in trying to offer guidance or teach me technique. In fact, I think she was exasperated by my attempts and just gave up on me by the third class – she walked around praising the drawings of other students but when she stopped at my easel, she sort of made a face, grimaced and walked away. It actually sounds pretty funny when I tell the story now but at the time, it left me quite discouraged and not the least bit interested in trying to pursue the creation of art with the exception of creative writing.

“I grew up being surrounded by her finished paintings which left an indelible impression on me…”

The indoctrination of an urban neophyte…

The summer after graduating from Skidmore, I moved to New York City to work as an intern and then subsequently a full-time employee at a large public relations agency. I had never visited New York before -- it was an eyeopener! And although I did not pick up a paintbrush during the three years I lived there, I frequented museums and regularly attended gallery openings – both of which fueled my interest and passion for art. At the end of 1988 I got a new job at another PR agency and moved to Los Angeles – a city I had had an inexplicable affinity for (even though I’d never been there), since my pre-teen years.

Roxy Rubell’s art exhibitions include:

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Palm fronds and lemon trees…

I lived in Los Angeles for 22 years and the short version is that while I was there, I got married and divorced, remarried and subsequently divorced, continued to do PR and marketing, added freelance music journalist to my skill set and eventually left the corporate world to start On the Rox Media doing PR consulting for restaurants and hotels. I also started Baking Whoopie, an online bakery that sold gourmet whoopie pies.
A lot of other things also went down during those 22 years. My parents were still back in NH and I would go back and forth fairly frequently. I got homesick. Then my mom got sick in 1999 and died in 2000. Colon cancer. My dad remained in NH in our family home for many years afterwards and I would often go back to visit him – he was devastated and never took his wedding ring off. We had a great relationship and since I was divorced and living alone, we would often commiserate over the phone. Then I met my second husband in LA in 2003, got remarried in 2005 but by 2011, found myself in a weird place. He was a good guy – with the bonus of being a master chef and gourmet caterer. But for some reason I felt like I was suffocating. I was invited to attend a wine tasting he was catering which also turned out to be a paint night event. The teacher had lightly sketched the outline of a wine bottle on a 5”x7” canvas panel. I picked up a brush and began to paint using the outline of the bottle as my foundation. When the teacher looked at mine she was impressed with my use of color but wondered why certain elements didn’t really resemble what I was actually supposed to be drawing – a still life display of a wine bottle and glasses. I didn’t even realize that was the subject I was supposed to be working from! While I felt a bit embarrassed, I was also pleasantly surprised by the teacher’s reaction to what I had painted. It was a “duh” moment that turned into an “ah ha” experience and served as the catalyst that triggered my passion for painting. (I’ve included an image of it.) And thus, in 2011, I started to paint just for fun – for the hell of it, off the cuff, no instruction whatsoever. The act of painting felt incredibly fulfilling and emotionally freeing -- by putting brush to canvas, I felt like I was rediscovering myself – and tapping into a creative place that I never knew existed within myself. Where had this passion been hiding? At times, I felt my grandmother (Nana) was right there with me – and I still do sometimes. I kept painting and painting while at the same time, my marriage went south. In 2013, I moved back to NH – paint and paint brushes in tow, to hit the reset button for myself and for family-related reasons.

A simple, minimalistic approach in both technique and subject matter, gets its voice from my melding of texture with bold hues that, together, help the painting achieve tangible dimension.

“My portrait and abstract paintings are not quiet. They are uninhibited, bold and use color and brush strokes to express unfiltered, visceral creativity, often generating a sense of movement throughout each piece. My intent is to pull the viewer close to experience life in the painting and walk away feeling alive and passionate.”

This painting was inspired by a layout for a late 1960's-era Seagram's Whiskey ad – a smart decision here, a bad judgement call there, too many cocktail hours perhaps – the past catches up to all of us at some point.