NARROWSBURG, New York — Most every artist must establish, to some degree, their relationship to the art canon. Some endlessly reference it, while others reject it; artist Allan Rubin, on the other hand, renders his artistic heroes into three-dimensional sculptures made from upcycled tin cans.
Rubin really puts the “can” in canvas, applying his paintings to metal rather than fabric. In 2016, Rubin created his first master artist sculpture of Picasso, touching off a body of work called CANON, now on display at the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance.
“At first I made portraits of my cats and myself and my partner, CANdy Spilner,” said Rubin, in an email interview with Hyperallergic. “I became excited about the possibilities of the new material, because I could work smaller, make more works faster, not overload my already cramped studio, and delight my artist friends and followers who encouraged me to keep making can portraits. At first I resisted LABELing myself as a can artist. But now I’m willing to accept that this is my future.”
In addition to providing fodder for dad jokes, Rubin’s sculptures are neat combinations of geometry and painting, transposing the two-dimensional, highly stylized self-portraits created by famous artists throughout history onto the 3D surfaces of his metal constructions.