David Rabinowitch

New York Views: David Rabinowitch

Abstract Art Online

by Joe Walentini, New York Views is published twice monthly.

Creative solitude is something I think all visual artists need and enjoy to some degree. Our tribe is like those proverbial cats that are not given to herding. As a collection of individuals we don’t organize easily. There is something unique about making art that has much to do with singular control over both process and result. Other facets play into this too which include how time is impacted and the opportunity to be true to our natures. When I paint there is no role I have to play, no one to impress or appease, in short, no one I have to answer to except my muse. Unlike Batman I’m no vigilante crime fighter striving for good. But like Batman I have my secrets to keep, my private mission to accomplish and a striving for good albeit on my terms.

This review represents the third I’ve written on David Rabinotwitch’s work and with each show I’ve found something new and wonderful (including this one). Yet I also find it a bit peculiar that each exhibition has included work from the 60s and early 70s which prompted me to inquire of the gallery if he was still making art. Indeed he is and so now I’m curious to see what the contemporary work is like in comparison. Hopefully the next show will provide a view of it.

Contemporary work aside, what of the current exhibition? As pointed out in past reviews Rabinowitch is perhaps best known as a sculptor but his works on paper prove he is able to deliver in 2 dimensions as well. (Yet it must be pointed out that even his 3D work stays mighty close to 2D). This show is a marvelous presentation of these dual capabilities with neither overpowering the other. It might be easy to see the sculpture as the stronger suit with the advantages it has. These heavy dark metal objects are shaped into massive folds. Self-possessed of a counter- intuitive delicacy they have a sense of being spilled onto the concrete floor which they dominate. Throughout the gallery there are a number of naturally occurring cracks in the cement which seemed caused by the weight of these pieces. The unintended effect is paradoxical for suggesting that the work, looking like large folded sheets of heavy paper, could also be so heavy as to crack the floor.

In comparison to the works on the walls, the sculpture, for all its mass, impact and novel use of the gallery space, is exceedingly passive and is therefore unable to hijack control of this show. Some of this is a matter of numbers where the wall pieces significantly outnumber the sculpture.Then there is the austere yet expressive quality of the paper work. The reductive and diminutive imagery projects beyond the limitations of size and is also more taken in as a whole as compared to the sculpture which can only be viewed at some sort of angle. They also have the advantage of texture, a wider range and use of line and more color, albeit within a tight range of earth tones, grays and blacks. Yet for all the differences between the two mediums Rabinowitch links them with a common vocabulary of forms and a similar approach to the materials. But ultimately they are tied together in the manner by which they express the artist’s esthetic.