Nicole Rubio: Bustle 82 Always Carry a Spare: Backup Mask
30" x 40", pastel on paper
Venetian carnival has many layers: sinister beauty; decadence; dark undertones; flamboyant fabrics; hidden agendas beneath impassive alien masks. It plays by its own unpredictable rules.
As an artist losing her eyesight, Nicole Rubio has translated fear of her increasingly unseen environment into the Venetian Carnival metaphor. Mutinous curbs, people intersecting from random directions, predatory cars looming up from the fog. In a body of twelve large scale pastel drawings (36 by 46 inches framed) all those nuances speak. The carnival is a vehicle for overstating the real fears of everyday daily life for her innermost, secretly damaged self.
Over the past fifty years she has explored the questions of femininity and seduction, aging, social insecurity and deception through revealing and concealing masks. There is a contradiction between the need to be seen and the fear of being seen. It all comes to a head in Venetian carnival, where there is extravagant display in which one is also hiding oneself.
Nicole Rubio was born in New York and graduated from the Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston in 1978. In 1980 she migrated to California and supported herself for thirty years doing secretarial work. After retiring in 2010 she returned to her first and most natural art form, drawing. She has spent the last six years creating a body of work consisting of a series of bustle drawings and evening gowns with a psychological layer of social anxiety.