Nancy Rubins: Diversifolia

Nancy Rubins Gagosian Gallery

Diversifolia is an exhibition of new sculpture and drawings by Nancy Rubins. This is Rubins’s first solo exhibition in London.

Rubins transforms found objects and industrial refuse into expertly orchestrated abstractions that are fluid and rhizomatic in nature. Achieving this expressive fluidity at such a large scale requires precise engineering; in her recent work, she has employed a structural property called “tensegrity,” wherein individual parts are arranged in balanced compression and secured with tensile cables. Clusters of like objects—airplane parts, boats, carousel creatures, and more—seem to explode into space in all directions, propelled by their aggregated momentum.

In the scientific names of plants, “diversifolia” indicates a single species possessed with a considerable variety of leaf. Rubins’s sculptures, though devoid of leaves per se, are bouquet-like arrangements comprised of a wide range of animal forms—giraffes, storks, tortoises, crocodiles, wolves, and hogs—cast in iron, bronze, brass, and aluminium. Though easily recognizable for their intended use in garden decor or signage, Rubins treats the sculptures as purely formal, abstracted components: limbs and tails flower-like Baroque arabesques in Hog de la Ivy (2016–17); tortoise shells create a cloud-like foundation from which rectangular bases and silvered hogs emerge; the sharp antlers in Agrifolia Major (2017) give way to the animated curls of crocodile tails. Rubins also responds to the imperfections of the sculptural elements, their conspicuous seams and erratic welding influencing aesthetic and structural decisions such as where to place the drilled holes that allow the cables to zigzag through and bind the cantilevered components within the sculpture.

Reversing the scale relationship between sculpture and viewer, a selection of smaller maquettes cast in bronze and aluminium allow Rubins’s calculated compositional decisions to be observed all at once, impossible when circumnavigating the towering assemblages. From the sprawling sculptures to the large-scale graphite drawings—burnished swathes of paper undulating from the walls—Rubins suggests an endless continuum between the chaos and coolness of modernism and the élan vital of the organic.

Duration 07 February 2018 - 14 April 2018
Times Tues-Sat 10am-6pm
Cost Free
Venue Gagosian (Britannia Street)
Address 6-24 Britannia Street, London, WC1X 9JD
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