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Mel Rubin

American, b. 1948


Earthenware, paint, wood
33.5 x 34.5 x 3 in.
Gift of Joe Austin

In Market, Mel Rubin renders the raw and rundown side of 1980s Los Angeles. As former L. A. Times critic Colin Gardner put it, “The results are very much like a sun-bleached Edward Hopper scenario, where unpopulated icons of L.A.’s past and present are isolated into benign miniatures.” Typically, as in Market, Rubin would cut out wood shapes, coat them with earthenware, and then paint them. His work at the time represented the flip side of the aesthetic of Southern California artist Gifford Myers, who was also commenting on representations of real estate by depicting idyllic Spanish-style homes with palm trees in ceramic.

In the 1980s and 1990s Rubin was an integral part of the Los Angeles art scene, attending just about every exhibition opening of note with his dogs, who would guard his parked convertible. A graduate of Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, Rubin occasionally showed at the Jan Baum gallery in Los Angeles, and has also been in exhibitions with ceramic artist Wayne Higbee.

Bolton Colburn

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