'An American in Paris:' Norman Rubington’s Mid-Century Paintings on Exhibit, at Melvin Gallery in Lakeland, Florida

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Works of Celebrated Mid-Century American Artist, Norman Rubington, featured at the Melvin Art Gallery on the campus of Florida Southern College. The collection reflects the post-World WarII era, and represents a time of exploration and experimentation for artists. This exhibit of Rubington's paintings is made possible by Florida Southern alumna, Ann May Baron Greene. Select pieces are available for purchase and the exhibit is open to the public.

Rare collection of artwork created in post-war Paris offers a glimpse into a 'new' Europe's art scene. Florida Southern's Melvin Art Gallery hosts exhibit featuring Norman Rubington paintings and owned by Anne May Baron Greene, Philadelphia native.The work can be experienced from March 5 through March 22, in Lakeland, Florida. The reception is March 12, 6:00–8:00 p.m., and is open to the public.

This Rubington exhibit demonstrates art in transition. The collection sheds light on the balance of mid-Twentieth Century culture while providing a view towards future artistic movements. Specifically, thus time period marks the beginning of the 'information age'. The world events and advancements in technology brought accessibility for the masses. There was a blurring of once defined cultural boundaries, a loss of innocence, and avenues opened to a new and global sophistication. Rubington's work reflects the convergence of these eras.

As noted in his obituary from The London Times, January, 1991:
"...the range of his (Rubington’s) paintings were not bound by any formula or locked into any stylistic constraint... they were concerned with methods of seeing the familiar in a new way."

The exhibit at the Melvin Art Gallery offers collectors, art historians, students, and the public an up-close-and-personal view of American mid-century expressionism and surrealism. One can follow a progression of the American artist Norman Rubington .

Rubington found his creative community in the “City of Lights.” The Post-WWII Paris environment was ripe for artistic rebellion and perfect ground for talented artists to flourish. Restrictions were lifted, and with creative freedoms, new masters emerged. This departure from the traditional birthed a school of artists making experimental works in a variety of art forms. Rubington was in his element and became a prominent figure in the expatriate scene in Europe, and continued to maintain a strong influence on the artistic movement.

For Rubington the mid-century art scene was a catalyst for innovations using mixed media and developing new techniques to express his visions of beauty, humor and eroticism. His unique perspective, talented hand and often bizarre attitude (even by today's standards) led to an exhibition at the Salon d'Automne in Paris, which was a rare distinction for an American.

Although Rubington earned his place amongst his peers and art patrons, he was a ‘creative’, and honor and fame eluded him. He lived his life focused exclusively on his work and the 'what's next' rather than 'what was.' He was the ultimate and prolific visionary, constantly experimenting with painting, etching, collage and sculpture... not to mention, volumes of written works that include novels, poetry, and erotica written under the pen name, Akbar del Piombo. These publications were favored amongst Runington contemporaries to include Henry Miller, Samuel Beckett and Maurice Girodias of the Olympia Press where he was a frequent illustrator.

When Norman returned to New York in the late 60s he found a social scene quite different from the one that he had left behind when he went to Paris. New York had become an open paradox of a mainstream bohemian culture. Once again, Rubington and the works were on the forward edge and he was predominant in these circles.

It’s impossible to separate the man, Norman Rubington, from the artist. Elusive and unpredictable by nature and possessing a ‘larger than life’ persona, Rubington was a compelling and romantic figure.

"I doubt he was aware of what a seductive a role he played in the NY scene," reflects Mrs. Greene, “Norman was so true to his art and unlimited by popular social labels and mores. I visited him in NY in his cold-water flat. His home and studio were one. Aside from the basic conveniences—a sink and some Spartan electrical wires for lighting, his stove-top espresso maker which he generously offered to anyone who wouldn't mind drinking form a paint-splattered cup, he needed very little in the way of creature comforts."

Rubington continued to be dedicated to his passion, and explored new mediums, creating art until his death on January 1, 1991.

Date: March 5-22 Norman Rubington's works on exhibit
Location: Florida Southern College's Melvin Art Gallery Reception:
Time: March 12 at 6 PM

Reception: Rubington was represented by Philadelphia art dealer and FSC alumna Ann May Greene. Ms. Greene will speak at 6 PM in the gallery.

The public is invited to the evening reception on March 12, and welcome to visit the exhibit during regular hours.
Gallery hours: 9 AM to 4 PM, Mondays -Fridays.

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Anne May Greene

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