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Dittmar Gallery To Exhibit Photographs By Laurie Rubin

Chicago photographer Laurie Rubin's newest work transforms common, everyday objects that are often overlooked or discarded -- such as vividly colored and empty jewelry, scarf and tie boxes from international luxury retail outlets or old novels, scrapbooks or other printed matter -- into striking images that border on the sculptural and architectural.

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June 10, 2008 | by Judy Moore
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Chicago photographer Laurie Rubin's newest work transforms common, everyday objects that are often overlooked or discarded -- such as vividly colored and empty jewelry, scarf and tie boxes from international luxury retail outlets or old novels, scrapbooks or other printed matter -- into striking images that border on the sculptural and architectural.

More than two dozen of Rubin's latest large-format photographs will be exhibited from June 26 through Aug. 10, at Northwestern University's Dittmar Memorial Gallery, located on the first floor of Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, on the University's Evanston campus. The exhibition and an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 27, are free and open to the public.

Photographs in her "Book Series" are an exploration of relationships between books from her collection of other people's diaries, scrapbooks, sketchbooks and photo albums. Rubin said, "these books are a physical means of connecting to another person or another time." The arrangements are intended to spark recognition, ignite memory or invoke a presence. Some compositions are designed to celebrate the books' sculptural qualities, in which the books never quite reveal their original purpose. Others, in the narrative category, such as "French guidebooks" or "Summer reading," are grouped by contents or history. Once the photo has been taken and the books are shelved, these relationships are broken.

Rubin's "Box Series" began as a visual accounting of a friend's box collection and later evolved into a study of her own collection of discarded packaging. Rubin is fascinated by the ephemera that most people throw out without a second thought, including the boxes and bags and wrapping that are subservient to the items they once contained. Some of these photographs can be read as arrangements of pure form, turning everyday vessels into objects of contemplation. Others are arranged in ways that bring Chicago's skyline to mind.

"I have made a practice of searching for the heroic in the mundane and for beauty in the ordinary," said Rubin. "Since my vocational life as a commercial photographer often involves seducing the consumer, I take perverse pleasure in transforming the original intention of these items into sculptural objects." For more information on Rubin, and to view some of her photographs, visit http://www.laurierubin.com.

The Dittmar Gallery is open this summer from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. Admission is free. For information, call (847) 491-2348 or Norris University Center at (847) 491-2300, e-mail dittmargallery@northwestern.edu or visit the Dittmar Web site at http://www.norris.northwestern.edu/dittmar.php.
Topics: Campus Life