Zory Rubel is a contemporary, mixed media artist based in Leicester, UK. Her artwork is an assemblage of found images and family photographs that when paired together offer thought provoking and ambiguous topics.
As well as exhibiting at Two Queens Gallery and LCB Depot in Leicester and Oxo Tower in London, Rubel is now on a placement scheme with WTS Gallery and will soon be curating her own solo show at the gallery in the new year. Seed Creative Network interviews Zory Rubel to ask more about her obscure artwork.
Words by Mel Fletcher
MF: The images in your collages seem to be primarily found pieces. Where do you source your images and do you have a particular subject matter in mind when searching?
ZR: I source images from books and magazines. I also use a lot of photos from my family archive and childhood. I like mixing found material with my own photography that includes a snippet of my life in some way.
MF: What is the relationship between the images you pair together? Is the theme continual or does it change?
ZR: A lot of the time my intention is to pair together images that either are different, similar, or can speak to each other in some way. I'd say pinning down the actual relationship between the images is something I am yet to find. Until that resolves I try and leave it open, even if it means some pieces can be quite different from others.
MF: When presenting your artwork you seem to place
6 © Zory Rubel
your images in a very particular way. Can you explain your thought process when presenting your artwork?
ZR: Because my pieces are usually very small I try and keep them presented simple so there isn't a distraction of where they are placed. Although lately, I've enjoyed the challenge of displaying work on bare brick walls. This can give the pieces a different feel, meaning sometimes I get to position pieces as appropriate to the space, making it feel as if I'm making an installation.
MF: You use perspex in your work but not necessarily as its typical function paired with photographs - used as a protector in a frame. What is the purpose of perspex in your work?
ZR: I intended the perspex to act almost as a frame to draw focus to certain parts of the collages. It's a recent experiment I decided to carry on with! It came quite loosely from reading 'Camera Lucida' by Roland Barthes - he talks a lot about noticing the less obvious aspects of photographs and finding them more interesting than the intentional focal point.
I found as well that the positioning of perspex on half of a piece or a section creates more movement when I display several together in a line.
MF: Looking at your collages they have an intriguing contemporary style. What function does your artwork have? I ask this because like a lot of contemporary artwork, it isn’t something you would
1 © Zory Rubel
30 © Zory Rubel
typically hang above the fireplace.
ZR: It's something I wonder about myself, I guess I'd hope its function is as something pleasing to the eye if I'm totally honest. Because of course there's my own reasons and concepts behind everything, but I like the idea of something being quite ambiguous but maybe could also be taken as it is at the same time.
MF: Do you ever make artwork that is site-specific?
ZR: I haven't before, but I like the idea of it. As I said earlier it's getting more and more interesting to work with specific spaces, and as a graduate on the placement scheme at WTS Gallery (Leicester) with its history downstairs of being a possible abattoir, that's something I'd love to start researching as a subject and drawing on the atmosphere of the building. It could be quite a focused subject but has a lot of potential for artwork.
MF: Where do you draw your influences from?
ZR: Lately I've been looking at an artist called Haris Epominonda, she uses old found imagery and displays them in frames etc. I've always been interested in anatomical drawings and things from the inside such as psychology, it may not always come through in my work but at the moment it's those particular themes I'm looking at.
MF: Do you have any upcoming projects/ exhibitions?
ZR: On the horizon is a show at WTS Gallery which would be in the new year at some point, courtesy of curator Leila Houston who I'm working with on the placement. I'm really looking forward to the chance to try out some new artwork and take on a site-specific attitude to the space. Other than that I'm looking to experiment with working on wood again, and possibly continuing with perspex and seeing how incorporating other mediums into collage-based artwork can work.
Article written by Mel Fletcher
Text by Mel Fletcher 2014
Article commissioned by Seed Creative Network
Images © Zory Rubel
© Zory Rubel