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Sandra Mendelsohn Rubin Works Biography


All my work is painted from direct observation. My strongest impluses have consistently been rooted in the physical world. These impulses must prove themselves by showing up in my memory, reappearing subconsciously; the physical tethered to the conceptual.

Starting with the earliest landscapes, I wanted to create compositions with the strength to hold the eye and one’s attention. That concern remains constant. Like the hunt for a needle in a haystack, I am careful to keep myself poised and attentive for the discovery of compelling and relevant subject matter quietly hidden in the corners of everyday life. The paintings progress like the construction of a house, one stick at a time, fueled by the need to create a visual dwelling for my own contemplation. Like a vessel, it is the space created by the structure that is most important.

I paint with a relentless conviction to make tangible every aspect of my subject. The surface quality and subtlety of detail, density and space, all revealed by the feel of the light. My palette is limited to ten basic colors and does not include black. I use the paint thick and pasty right out of the tube. While not apparent in reproduction, there are several layers of this undiluted paint. My compulsion is to create a density of surface presence that cannot be denied. As time passes, I am ever more vigilant to keep my focus to include only what gets at the point of interest. And under all this, the image must work abstractly. Take away the recognizable and that is what holds it all together.

I do believe there is something sacred and enduring in this disciplined act of truthfulness. Somewhere in the process of painting, a magical threshold gets crossed. I am aware as my hand reaches across an invisible line into a timeless place and I am transported to another state of being.


1947    Born Santa Monica, California


1979    Master of Fine Arts, University of California, Los Angeles

1976    Bachelor of Arts, University of California, Los Angeles



2014    Sandra Mendelsohn Rubin, Ameringer McEnery Yohe, New York

2011    Above and Beyond, L.A. Louver, Venice CA

2007    Views From Home, L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

2003    Shapes and Shadows: Still Life Paintings 1994 – 2003, L.A. Louver, Venice, CA (catalogue)

1992    Pieces from Life, L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

1987    Sandra Mendelsohn Rubin: Painting and Drawings

Claude Bernard Gallery, New York (catalogue)

1985    Sandra Mendelsohn Rubin, Fischer Fine Arts, London, England

Gallery 6: Sandra Mendelsohn Rubin, 1980-1985, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los

Angeles  (illustrated brochure)

1982    Selected Paintings and Drawings: 1980-1982, L.A. Louver, Venice, CA


2014    The Beautiful: Contemporary Images of America, William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art, California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, CA

2009    Group Show, L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

2008    Place in Time: Contemporary Landscape, Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, Scripps Collage, Claremont, CA (catalogue)

2007    Art 38 Basel, L.A. Louver, The International Art Show, Basel, Switzerland

2004    Elemental Sources, Mendocino College, Ukiah, CA

2003    Not So Still Life: A Century of California Painting, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA traveled to; Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA (catalogue)

2002    Summer 2002, L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

2000    LA Botanical, Peter & Susan Barrett Art Gallery, Santa Monica College, Santa Monica, CA

1998    Group Exhibition, L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

1993    Cityscapes, Community Arts, Inc, Los Angeles

L.A. Stories, Jack Rutberg Fine Arts, Los Angeles

1992    California Drawings, Fresno Metropolitan Museum, Fresno, California

1991    California Cityscapes, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA, curated by Mary Stofflet, (catalogue)

California Contemporary Realism, John Wayne International Airport, Costa Mesa, CA

1990    Spirit of our Time, Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA

            Faces, Marc Richards Gallery, Santa Monica, CA

            Contemporary Landscape Painting, Tortue Gallery, Santa Monica, CA

1989    Documenting A Moment: Contemporary Plein Air Landscape,

Tatistcheff Gallery, Inc., Santa Monica, CA

1988    American/European Painting & Sculpture, L.A. Art Fair, Los Angeles

Realism Now, Judy Youen’s Gallery, Houston, TX

The Janss Collection, Boise Museum, Boise, ID

1987    L.A. Art, Struve Gallery, Chicago, IL

The Capitol Group Corporate Collection: California Contemporary Art,

            Fine Arts Gallery, University of California, Irvine, CA

            Artists’ Self-Portraits, Claude Bernard Gallery, New York

            Looking In, Looking Out: Contemporary Portraits by Women Artists

            Montgomery Gallery, Pomona College, Claremont, CA

American Realism: Twentieth-Century Drawings and Watercolors,

San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA (traveled/catalogue)

Landscape/Elements, Jan Baum Gallery, Los Angeles

1984    American/European Painting, Drawing & Sculpture, L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

1983    Young Talent Awards: 1963-1983, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles(catalogue)

L.A. Scene, University of Southern California, Los Angeles

A Heritage Renewed, University Art Museum, Santa Barbara, CA (traveled/catalogue)

The Los Angeles Postcard Project, Part I, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles

1982    Real Thing, Laguna Beach Museum of Art, Laguna Beach, CA

            The Michael & Dorothy Blankfort Collection, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles

            Selected Graphics from L.A. Louver Publications, Brooke Alexander Gallery, New York

Drawings by Painters, Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CA (traveled/catalogue)

Exhibition of Contemporary Los Angeles Artists, Nagoya City Museum, Nagoya, Japan

1981    Elegant Night, Security Pacific National Bank, Los Angeles (catalogue)

The Figure and Its Postures, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles

Locations, California State University, San Bernardino, CA (catalogue)

            Odyssia Gallery, New York

California: The State of Landscape 1972-1981, Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, CA (traveled/catalogue)

            Major Works by Six Artists, L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

1980    Three Realist Painters: Maxwell Hendler, Richard Shaffer and Sandra Mendelsohn Rubin, L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

1978    15 Artists, Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles

National Invitational: Drawing/Painting 1978, College Art Gallery, State University of New York, New Paltz, NY (catalogue)

1977    Images: Interior/Exterior, Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles

California/Suite, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Art Rental Gallery, Los Angeles


2012    Guggenheim Fellowship for Fine Arts

1991    National Endowment for the Arts, Artist’s Fellowship Grant

1981    National Endowment for the Arts, Artist’s Fellowship Grant

1980    Young Talent Purchase Award, Los Angeles, County Museum of Art, Los Angeles

1978    Ford Foundation Grant

1977    Ford Foundation Travel Grant


1981    Instructor, University of California, Los Angeles

1980    Instructor, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA


Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO), Los Angeles

Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA

Boise Art Museum, Boise, ID

Eli Broad Collection, Los Angeles

The Capital Group, Los Angeles

Louis-Dreyfus Family Collection, NY

Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles

Palm Springs Museum of Art, Palm Springs, CA

Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Yale Art Museum, New Haven, CO

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