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Juniata Art Museum Exhibits Art of Mary Cady-Rubinstein

(Posted November 1, 2010)

"Pennsylvania Styx" is a painted wood relief by Mary Cady-Rubinstein.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Three very different modes of artistic expression -- sculpture, painting and printmaking -- are unified in an exhibition by artist Mary Cady-Rubinstein through her creative use of wood in "Mary Cady-Rubinstein: Wood Work," an exhibit at the Juniata College Museum of Art that runs from Thursday, Nov. 11 to Feb. 12.

There will be an opening reception for the exhibition Nov. 11 at 5 p.m. at the museum.

Mary Cady-Rubinstein, a resident of Reedsville, has worked and exhibited in central Pennsylvania (she was a longtime resident of State College) and across the country.

Cady-Rubinstein's work explores many aspects of wood. For example, her painted wood reliefs are painstakingly carved into various types of wood (often boards) and then those scenes are painted in vibrant colors. The three-dimensionality of her reliefs gives the pieces a life-like quality. In the Juniata exhibit, such reliefs as "Pennsylvania Styx," "Tower of Babel," which was inspired by 9/11, and "Narcissus," are intriguing examples of this often labor-intensive art.

She theorizes that these artistic forms, worked free from the wood by her carving knives and gouges, allow the trees that have been cut down "after growing for ages and ages," to live on.

These artistic forms, worked free from the wood by her carving knives and gouges, allow the trees that have been cut down "after growing for ages and ages," to live on.

Cady-Rubinstein's wood sculptures explore the properties of soft woods such as cedar and pine, as well as less forgiving hardwoods such as cherry, sycamore and maple. Many of the sculptures come from wood collected on walks in the woods near her home. The artist's sculpture in this exhibition is largely representational, focusing on human figures and animal figures such as a snake, a bull, a dog, a swan and a goat.

Carving art out of wood also is at the center of making woodblock prints, the third part of Cady-Rubinstein's exhibit. In this medium, the artist carves away the wood surface until only the area meant to be represented in the final image remains. Cady-Rubinstein's work in this show focuses on literary subjects such as scenes from the work of Franz Kafka and Feodor Dostoevsky, and scenes from mythology, such as the print "Icarus."

Cady-Rubinstein began taking art classes at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas, as a young girl, where she learned sculpture and painting techniques. She earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts in 1947 from the University of Texas. She continued her education at the Art Students League of New York City and ultimately earned a master of fine arts degree in sculpture from the University of Iowa.

She worked as a part-time art instructor at Penn State University until 1980, teaching life drawing, drawing and sculpture, and also taught classes for the Pennsylvania Art Alliance through 1980. For several years she taught figure drawing at Penn State's Theatre department.

She has showed her work extensively, exhibiting locally at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art in 2008 and the Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania. She also has shown her work at Penn State's Pattee Library, the Jewish Community Center of Harrisburg, Newman Gallery in Philadelphia, the William Penn Memorial Museum, Harrisburg and at the Audubon Art Exhibit in New York City.

The Juniata College Museum of Art is located in historic Carnegie Hall at 17th and Moore streets in Huntingdon. Museum hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. For more information, please call the museum at (814) 641-3505, or visit the Juniata College Web site at http://www.juniata.edu/museum.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.