Broadway is pleased to present Global Warmth and Global Cooling, a solo exhibition of new oil paintings on panel and canvas by New York artist Adrianne Rubenstein. Drawing inspiration from the more ignored corners of art history, design and even cookbooks, Rubenstein’s paintings manifest peculiar combinations that exist in tension. Fantasy and mundane specificity, hopefulness and dread, the liberation of expressionism and the utilitarian humility of illustration cohabit in an uneasy but evocative truce.
Traditions of still life, landscape, and, more obliquely, portraiture are all explored here with an appetite for exploration and an openness that honors the artist’s deep knowledge and commitment to both the history of painting and its contemporary practitioners. The result maintains a stance of optimism, implied by the exhibition’s title, despite the persistent undertow of despair that permeates the times.
A curious lexicon of symbols—a stylized tulip, apples, humble coffee mugs, and her now practically trademarked broccoli (in homage to Rubenstein’s hero the artist and author Mollie Katzen of Moosewood Cookbook fame)—appear and reappear creating a persistent rhythm across the exhibition. These motifs, forever mutating in scale and relative legibility, are then combined with the artist’s increasingly confident and profligate application of paint. Some areas are worried over in multi-colored layers, while others evoke a more off-handed almost ambivalent facture, further underlining the crosscurrents at work in the paintings.
In one large canvas Shakespeare’s tragic Ophelia, suspended in a primordial soup of swirling paint, becomes the source of an explosion of daisies, unlikely broccoli/snowflake hybrids, and a further eruption of celestial bodies in the night sky. Emblematic of her overarching approach to painting, an enduring literary (and art-historical) subject is pushed through the strainer of Rubenstein’s anxious but determined shot at transcendence, affording us a fresh view and feeling for a time-honored medium.
Adrianne Rubenstein (b. 1983, Montreal) lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include Bark of the Town at The Pit, Los Angeles, CA; Ruby in the Dust at Deli Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; and Little Shop of Horrors at Tif Sigfrids, Athens, GA. Adrianne operated the project space Grifter in 2 Bridges, Manhattan from July 2019 – July 2021. She has curated numerous group shows including Go Away Road at Loyal Gallery in Stockholm (2019), Geranium at Stems Gallery in Brussels (2018) and Fort Greene at Venus, Los Angeles (2016).