Santiago Rubino's fantastical worlds return

arts / Article

September 12, 2014 by Anne Tschida

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From the solo outing "The Doors of Perception."

By now, the distinctive markings of Santiago Rubino, the very figurative drawings often devoid of much color, often featuring a raven-haired, voluptuous woman, should be familiar to many. His works, large and small, have been exhibited on walls of establishments and galleries all over, although generally here in Miami through Spinello Projects. But in fact he hasn’t had a body of work shown for three years, which “The Doors of Perception” solo exhibit now at Spinello rectifies.

The recent works – all of which get lots of room to breathe at Spinello’s huge, two-story space West of Wynwood, for this show painted dark gray – are not a big departure from his previous works, and you’ll recognize his hand and imagery immediately. There are those elements of pop-illustration, of fantasy, of mythological scenarios. And yet while his art has sometimes been considered in the vague vein of street art, Rubino’s precise drawings in minimal color have little in common with the bright splashes and abstract slashes that are the signature of much mural art. There are some similarities with his street compatriots – he is entirely self-taught for instance – but Rubino’s portraits have something more classical, very 19th-century about them.

He details his landscapes with geometric designs and fairy-tale like animals that surround the futuristic tattooed female models, who still somehow look intentionally like an old-fashion version of “futuristic.”

While the smaller drawings have their charm, the large-scale pieces, downstairs in diptych, upstairs in triptych, are the stars. Rubino’s detailed draftsmanship and off-kilter, imaginary worlds are fully revealed in these, making the title “The Doors of Perception” all the more relevant.

“The Doors of Perception” solo exhibit from Santiago Rubino runs through Oct. 4 at Spinello Projects, 2930 N.W. 7th Ave., Miami (west of Wynwood); spinelloprojects.com.

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