by stuart servetar
at Annika Sundvik
Feb. 1-Mar. 1, 1997
Bradley Rubenstein is a painter trapped in the machine -- the computer, that is. In this show, titled "Kate Moss on Mars," his work on its face features the chromosomal hybridization prominent in works of the Chapman Bros. with a handling of paint remniscient of Elizabeth "Yes, the New Yorker" Peyton. Rubenstein's work features hybrid images of supermodels and non-threatening animals such as cats and deer. By reconfiguring imagery on Photoshop, Rubenstein recreates these forms into new hybrid beings. He draws them onto the canvas, paints them wanly within the lines, then fills the background with neutral-toned decorator house paint.
Rubenstein's use of house paint is an extension of his wish to do an end run around the whole painting process in favor of the thorough perfection of the graphics program. The impulse to paint persists, however, inside the figures. The painter's hand asserts itself in washes and tonal noodling that have all the strength of a half-starved supermodel. Similarly, Rubenstein's characters are limp and sometimes barely able to hold their heads up or, if they do, they are standing not on sturdy feet, but on elongated breasts with twisted nipples. It is a painful, mute struggle to create subsumed beneath a fashionably vapid face. The bimbo bind.
Annika Sundvik Gallery, 26 Grand Street, New York, N.Y. 10013