In the two hand-drawn animations on view by Nathania Rubin, the narrative is secondary to the drawn line. Each mark determines the next steps of the moving image and the piece is improvised with no script. In one animation, a girl acts out her struggle with letting go in a farcical treatment of the psychoanalytic preoccupation with feces; in another, a morphing face struggles to form an identity, which it only temporarily accomplishes during a sexual encounter before splintering into multiple incarnations.
Rubin’s work is largely about role-playing. The bigger questions behind the work concern the nature of identity, the knowability of the other, the knowability of the self, and what it means for the self and the other to stand in relation to one another. Her animations depict unknown and unknowable characters that morph drastically and subtly. The formations and deformations of narratives coincide with those of the drawn marks of graphite and its erasure. The removal of marks plays as central a role to the development of the narrative as do the drawn interventions. Similarly, with respect to the relationship between form and content, the driving mechanism through the time-based aspect of the pieces is perhaps more within the working and the reworking of the drawing itself than the narrative development that the drawing articulates. Narrative in this way has awkward footing within the pieces that struggle to find their subject in terms of both character and content. The subject is what the laboriously rendered forms are searching for, but in the end the forms themselves and their struggle comprises the subject content of the work.
About the Artist
Nathania Rubin is an artist working primarily in hand-drawn animation and drawing/video installation. Her work investigates the relationships between narrative, fiction, and the formation of self. She explores the shifting nature of identity through morphing drawings and their erasure. Originally from New York City, she spent 2011-12 as a fine art researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academie in the Netherlands and she is currently artist-in-residence at the ACC Galerie in Weimar, Germany.
Image courtesy the artist.