The Last Day of Summer

Gideon Rubin 

Apr 7 (Fri.) - May 20 (Sat.), 2023

Maho Kubota Gallery is pleased to present The Last Day of Summer, a solo exhibition by Gideon Rubin, starting April 7, 2023. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Japan and will feature eleven new paintings.

In his paintings rendered on linen canvas, light stops over the subject. Because Gideon Rubin’s paintings are created using a very limited painterly language, viewers initially take in the entire piece without being distracted by details, but the eye unconsciously seeks out the light. While viewers may hope to put off the point at which their line of sight slips into the folds of shadow, it is utterly impossible for them to resist the invitation to the visual pleasure that Rubin’s paintings emit.

It is easy to see the influence of the vintage photos that Rubin says he used to collect. Even when his art depicts the present, it seems to be clearly indicating a fate that can never be rendered with paint (because the subject has already become a thing of the past by the time the artist uses his brush). Viewing a painting of a person rendered with minimal elements—the image of a person in some unknown country doing something unknown, having lived some unknown life—allows viewers to superimpose their own memories onto the scene, and reservedly let their feelings slide in too. Within this simple, pure, and young world, which is somehow incomplete, somehow missing something, silently arises a universal mythology that excludes no one at all.

Gideon Rubin’s latest work takes inspiration from The Last Day of Summer—an icon of Polish cinema directed by Tadeusz Konwicki. Taking stills from the film as the starting point, Rubin has produced a new body of work; reinterpreting the quiet, contemplative scenes in paint—the black & white frames transformed into painterly technicolor.

Understated and poetic, Konwicki’s The Last Day of Summer presents an ambiguous and open-ended scene, much like those in Rubin’s own work, where extraneous details are edited and erased, leaving only what is essential. As film critic Robert Birkholc describes in his post about the film, “We don’t know the names of the heroes, nor their pasts—the dialogues are sparse and the plot exists only partially—but from their gestures, glances and fragmentary sentences we may glean some information.”(”The Last Day of Summer – Tadeusz Konwicki” by Robert Birkholc)