The fall season always ushers in grey, rainy days. Baring a tempest, I enjoy these days quite a bit. The reason rainy days are so interesting to me is observing the change in my environment. Everyday, I pass by the HSBC tower and look at a painting called Hefer Valley by Yadid Rubin.
It’s a massive canvas depicting the sun shining down on a field being plowed. I always enjoy walking by this painting. The bold colors are rhythmically applied, and almost seem to vibrate off the canvas, out of the lobby, and onto the street. Undoubtedly, Hefer Valley is an impressive piece. Yet it seemed absolutely transcendental as I passed by in the rain.
The absence of natural sunlight allowed me to see the luminosity of the colors in the painting in a different way. Luminosity is the measurement of brightness and radiance. When ambient lighting changes, our eyes adjust and perceive luminosity differently.
Most days, I will look and smile as I walk by. But yesterday, I just had to cross the street and enter the building to take a closer look.
The way that Rubin applies paint to the canvas reminds me of the way textiles are woven together. He doesn’t just use one color, but layers bold, impasto hues next to one another to create depth and harmony. From a distance, the eye can blend these areas together to create an image. Up-close, the experience of viewing the work is much different. Woven textiles are similar in this way. Many different color threads and yarns can create a rich combination. A great example of this is Harris Tweed. The Vintage Traveler recently discussed the richness of Harris Tweed- it uses four yarns for a single color. It’s this blending of these that creates a beautiful textile
Viewing Hefer Valley made me curious. I’d never heard of Yadid Rubin before. After a little research, I learned that Rubin (1938) is a prominent Israeli landscape artist that paints in his closed, windowless studio. Now this fact resonated with me. Rubin controls the amount of ambient light while he paints. This must be why my reaction to the painting was so different in the rain”“ this was the way Rubin observed his canvas while creating.
Rubin explained why he works in a closed, windowless studio:
I paint the landscape of the kibutz [a collective farm or settlement owned by its members in Isreal], but in fact these are the landscapes of the soul. I don’t paint out of plain observation, but out of the accumulation of sensations and reactions to different conditions of nature.
So it is possible to have sunshine on a cloudy day.
For more of Rubin’s work, please visit chelouchgallery.com