Meridel Rubenstein

Recent Work

March 12–May 21, 2022

Opening reception: Saturday, March 12, 3:00–5:30pm

Artist talk: 4:00pm

Exhibition catalog

Deluge, 2020–22

Deluge, 2020–22; 64×35 inches

Boat is a Garden, 2020–22

Boat is a Garden, 2020–22; 64×35 inches

Drought is a Flood, 2020–22

Drought is a Flood, 2020–22; 64×35 inches

Backyard Boat, 2020–22

Backyard Boat, 2020–22; 32-1/4×24 inches

Persephone #1, 2020–22

Persephone #1, 2020–22; 33-1/2×24 inches

Two Worlds (coconuts), 2020–22

Two Worlds (coconuts), 2020–22; 31-1/4 inches diameter framed

Tillandsia, 2020–22

Tillandsia, 2020–22; 24-1/2×22-1/4 inches framed

Bird Cage with Open Door, 2020–22

Bird Cage with Open Door, 2020–22; 24-1/2×22-1/4 inches framed

Liberated Fence, 2020–22

Liberated Fence, 2020–22; 24-1/2×22-1/4 inches framed

Pomegranates, 2020–22

Pomegranates, 2020–22; 24-1/2×22-1/4 inches framed

Thorn re-germination, 2020–22

Thorn re-germination, 2020–22; 24-1/2×22-1/4 inches framed

Press Release

Brian Gross Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening of Meridel Rubenstein: Recent Work, on Saturday, March 12th, with a reception from 3:00-5:30pm and an artist talk at 4:00pm. An acclaimed photo-based artist living in Santa Fe, the works in the exhibition are drawn from her series The Earth Takes Flight, part one of her newest project, The Boat is a Circle. Ranging in size from large-scale to intimate, the works in this series explore the present day threat of climate change through the lens of the Mesopotamian flood myth found in the Epic of Gilgamesh (a precursor to the Biblical story of Noah). The exhibition will be on view through May 21, 2022.

For her exhibition, Meridel Rubenstein will present three large-scale vertical photographs printed on canvas that hang like scrolls floating in front of the wall. In these large works—Drought is a Flood, Boat is a Garden, and Deluge—Rubenstein incorporates an image of a boat whose use dates back to ancient Mesopotamia (called a “guffa”) as a symbol of continuity by superimposing it over backgrounds of composite images comprised of melting glaciers, rising seas, and drought stricken lands. In her smaller works (Airplant Studies: A Tillandsia Can Root Anywhere), such as Tillandsia, Liberated Fence, and Thorn re-germination, Rubenstein depicts plants and other objects as emblems for the cycle of destruction and resilience recounted in the ancient myth and currently faced today by humanity.

Since 2011, Rubenstein has been directing The Eden in Iraq Wastewater Garden Project, a humanitarian environmental water remediation and art project in the Mesopotamian marshes of Southern Iraq, which continues to inspire her visual art. In recognition for her work on the project, she was awarded a Green Citizen Award from UNESCO in 2020.

Meridel Rubenstein was born in Detroit, MI and received an MA (1974) and MFA (1977) from the University of New Mexico (UNM), Albuquerque. From 2006 - 2018, she was a Visiting Associate Professor at the School of Art, Design, and Media at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and is currently an Adjunct Professor at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability. She has previously taught at Smith College, Northampton, MA, and was head the photography program at San Francisco State University from 1985-90. Rubenstein has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and Bunting Institute at Harvard University. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and twice received the Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant.

Rubenstein’s work has been the focus of numerous museum exhibitions throughout the US, Europe, and Southeast Asia. In 1995, she was one of only two New Mexico artists included in the inaugural SITE Santa Fe, where she debuted her monumental installation Oppenheimer’s Chair, the culmination of her Critical Mass series about the creation of the atomic bomb. In 2018, Rubenstein was the subject of a solo exhibition, Eden Turned on its Side, at the UNM Art Museum, Albuquerque, for which a monograph was published. Rubenstein’s work has been exhibited at the Louvre, Paris; International Center for Photography, NY; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Smith College Museum of Art; National Design Center, Singapore; and the New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe. From April 16 – October 2, 2022, Rubenstein’s work will be featured in the exhibition Our Selves: Photographs by Women Artists from Helen Kornblum at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Rubenstein’s photoworks can be found in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, NY; Smithsonian American Art Museum; SFMOMA; Biblioth que Nationale, Paris; Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg; Houston Museum of Fine Arts; Honolulu Museum of Art; High Museum, Atlanta; Denver Art Museum; Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Portland Art Museum, OR; Cleveland Museum of Art; Nanyang Technological University Art Museum, Singapore, and the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art, Napa, CA, among others.