[TISEA 1992] Artist Statement: Cynthia Rubin – Toledo Page, Remembering Home, Another Time and After Cordoba

Artist Statement

Work in exhibition:

  1. Toledo Page, 1991
  2. Remembering Home, 1991
  3. Another Time, 1991
  4. After Cordoba, 1992

This series is built on the juxtaposition of fragments from both personal and cultural history Ironically, the computer has placed me in a new relationship to tradition. It has provided me with the means to access my cultural legacy directly , and I often begin works by placing medieval Hebrew manuscripts inside the computer. I purposely  quote sources from different times and places to tell the story of my own culture which comes form migrations over the last several hundred years from place to place as a subculture which is in and of itself a blended culture. A single work, for example, might bring together images from a 17th century Hebrew manu-script from Italy, the house I lived in as a young child, 19th century polish synagogues, and trees from the yard of my current home in Vermont. The work is totally conceived and developed within the computer, as the mechanism for the selective merging, layering, and melding of my sources. How the source images enter the computer (either through my own photographs or direct drawing) is not important, as in any case I must work hours with the sources within the computer to make them truly part of the evolving computer image.
What the computer offers is the means to create, shift, and emphasise hierarchies of both relationship and representation among pieces of the past which I bring together in my images.

Remembering Home (4’16”)

Remembering Home is about the layers of cultural memory that are in all of us, but particularly focuses on the historic Jewish experience, stretching from pre-Expulsion Spain into other European countries, and including contemporary North America.  

The imagery is constructed from interned layers of computer manipulated photographs, which take on a painterly quality as they are remixed with each other and motifs from medieval Hebrew manuscripts. As a time-based work, Remembering Home expands the technique of complex intertwining of photographic elements that comprise the artist’s printed still images. Polish Dreams, for example, is a still image constructed from the artist’s own photographs, reflecting a kind of personal memoir of visiting the country of so many of her ancestors. Polish Dreams, however, fuses sources from on the architecture and artifacts of a single country. Remember Home, in contrast, begins with a clearly North American frame of a traditional front porch, and them moves into the vast territory of the nearly lost worlds of Europe.

Produced by Cynthia Beth Rubin, 1993, Music by Stephen P. Farrington, 1993

Under a grant from the New England Foundation on the Arts, with additional support from the University of Vermont Research Advisory Council, and the Centre Copie-Art, Montréal.

  • Cynthia Rubin, University of Vermont,  USA