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Glen Rubsamen

Glen Rubsamen’s craft is painting, which he treats as a traditionally established medium. Yet what appears at first glance to be traditional is at the same time the very source of Rubsamen’s subversiveness. His scenic and artistic views invariably play out against an impressive celestial backdrop that contrasts sharply and spectacularly with the silhouette-like black figures arrayed in the foreground – figures, incidentally, that cannot move; not just because they are painted, but also because they are usually things that are rooted to the spot, such as trees, antennae, and more recently, huge billboards. In spite of their immobility, they are protagonists in the sense that they narrate so much. Their narrative comes from their role serving as representatives of overarching themes. The images appear like film stills, exuding an air of calm and drama. And they all look remarkably Californian – which is still one of the classic projections of the western imagination. —Axel Jablonski

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