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Adrianne Rubenstein
Fourteen30 Contemporary, Portland, Oregon
Recommendation by Richard Speer

Adrianne Rubenstein, “Parting of the Green Sea,” 2017, oil on panel, 35 x 23 1/2”

Continuing through March 11, 2017

A suite of acid-toned oil paintings by New York-based Adrianne Rubenstein enlivens the immaculate white cube with a jolt of hyperchromatic pizzazz. The works’ nervous energy is heightened by short, jittery brushstrokes, as in “Friday Night Pick Up” which, like all the works in the exhibition, is essentially a narrative painting. This one tells a story of the artist being visited by her father, whose automobile arrives at her doorstep amid a whirlwind of vehicular chaos. Rubenstein paints the three buildings behind the car as off-kilter rectangles of green, yellow, and red, like an oversized traffic light that’s very confused. It’s an effective melding of subject matter and technique. 

In other paintings such as “Rabbit Patch” and “Educational Toy,” funhouse colors and manically kinetic compositions (there’s almost no negative space, every inch of the picture plane overflows with gesture) lend a child-like insouciance, self-conscious but never precious. In the back gallery, three drawings depict broccoli florets clasped like bouquets in cartoonish hands. Like the paintings, they communicate a quirkily endearing iconocism that engages our emotional memory.

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