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'When The Body Speaks'

Artist Marci Rubin examines conditions of human change

December 15, 2011 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Award-winning Chicago artist Marci Rubin’s latest sculptures, installations and prints, on view at Northwestern University early this winter, reflect the structure and systems of the body’s skin, cells, organs, digestion and reproduction.

From Jan. 4 to Feb. 5, Rubin’s “When the Body Speaks” will be featured at the Dittmar Memorial Gallery, located on the first floor of Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, on the Evanston campus. The exhibition, an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 4, and a 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23, Artist Talk, are all free and open to the public. On Jan. 23, Rubin will discuss her artistic process and materials and content of the 26 works in the show. 

As a youngster, Rubin recalls scanning the pages of anatomy and physiology textbooks while her mother studied to become a physical therapist.

“My interest in the body is inspired by literally being a body,” said the artist, who still keeps a few anatomy books on hand in her south side studio for reference. Her favorite is a medical dictionary she uses as inspiration and to pull the Latin titles of her works.

Rubin’s soft sculptures resemble human internal organs or external appendages. They are created from flesh tone cotton and fabrics harvested from recycled women’s clothing. Some incorporate wood.

Among the works in the Dittmar exhibition will be “Episiotomy,” an installation made from bits and pieces of feminine garment scraps left over from other art projects. The combined fabrics are attached to a wood armature that makes the piece easier to move and install directly on a gallery wall.

Rubin’s large framed fruit prints are made by cutting a piece of fruit in half, applying ink to it with a brush and stamping it directly onto a hot pressed paper. She is partial to using tomatoes, apples, kiwis and oranges because they create the best shapes and textures and create symbols of cellular cycles, phases or generation. One of her ink and tomato prints is titled “Uterus.” 

Rubin’s studio is located in The Bridgeport Art Center where she is active in a local arts community. Her work has been exhibited in Chicago, Highland Park and Bloomington, Ind.

For more on Rubin, visit www.marcirubinart.com/art-statement.asp.

The Dittmar Memorial Gallery is closed from Dec. 12 through Jan. 3, for winter break. Starting Jan. 4, the gallery will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

For information, call the Dittmar Gallery at (847) 491-2348 or Norris University Center at (847) 491-2300, e-mail dittmargallery@northwestern.edu or visit www.dittmar.northwestern.edu

Topics: Campus Life