Sandra Rubel : Biography
Sandra Rubel was born in San Diego, CA, and as the daughter of a US Navy Admiral, spent much of her youth traveling and living around the world. She enjoyed an expansive multilingual education that included private art lessons in places as diverse as Lima, Peru and Cannes, France. She later continued her art studies at the Corcoran Museum School in Washington, DC, Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she earned a BFA degree.
After graduation, she established a weaving studio in Providence, RI and began exhibiting and selling her hand-woven garments at craft shows throughout the Northeast, including the first juried American Craft Council show in Rhinebeck, NY. Woven accessories evolved into knitted garments, and ultimately into hand painted, one-of-a-kind silk couture.
In 1979, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art chose her work for the first ever exhibition of wearable art to be presented by a major fine arts museum in the United States. In 1982, she participated in a two year traveling exhibition of contemporary American wearable art, sponsored by the American Craft Museum, which toured the museums of Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and the Phillippines. In 1986, Sandra was invited by China's Minster of Culture to be among the first official delegation of American artisans and art educators to visit the People's Republic. For nearly 20 years, her work has been exhibited at institutions such as the Mingei International Museum in San Diego, the American Craft Museum in New York City, and the Los Angeles Folk Art Museum, as well as in numerous galleries throughout the country. For over 20 years, she has participated in an average of 12 to 16 national juried craft shows per year, sponsored by organizations such as the American Craft Council, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institute of Washington, DC.
Her honors in the craft field include being chosen by Joan Mondale to design and execute hand woven placemats of silk and 14K gold for the Presidential table setting at the White House (which are now a part of the Smithsonian's permanent collection), and winning First Prize in the Fashion Division at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Her silk couture is in numerous private collections worldwide.
In 1993, Sandra returned full time to New York City, and began a new phase of her career by focusing on her roots in fine art. Since then, she has studied pastel painting with Christina DeBarry, Sidney Hermel, Richard Pionk, and Frank Zuccarelli at the Pastel Society of America, where she is a full member, and oil painting (on merit scholarship) at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League, with Sam Adoquei, Henry Finkelstein, Wolf Kahn, Leatrice Rose, Susan Shatter, Phillip Sherrod, and Sharon Sprung. She has also studied printmaking in Venice with Claire Romano and John Ross.
Always a prolific artist, Sandra Rubel has in a few short years generated a large body of work in the pastel medium. She has recently begun painting in oils as wellexhibiting her art in numerous venues from California to Massachusetts, and in New York at the national juried exhibitions of the Pastel Society of America, the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, the Salmagundi Art Club (where she has been a member), the Pen and Brush Club, and in student and museum exhibitions at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League. In addition, Sandra has also lectured and/or demonstrated at the Pen and Brush Club, American Craft Museum, Philadelphia College of Fine Art, Mingei Museum, Denver Art Museum, Golden Door Resort, and Rancho La Puerte (Tecate, Mexico).
September 11th, 2001 devastated Sandra's life and studio. For over 24 years, she had lived and worked 100 feet from the World Trade Center, and its collapse resulted in 18 windows being blown out in her Cedar Street studio, with the loft subsequently being inundated by 6 feet of rubble.
In a break from the chaos of New York, Sandra spent the summer of 2002 painting and studying printmaking in Venice with the Pratt University graduate program. Financial support was provided by 20 of her clients in exchange for artwork from Venice.
After 18 months, and many temporary homes, Sandra was finally able to return to her loft in the spring of 2003. Created art has ben, and continues to be, Sandra's lifeline during these uncertain timesshe paints every day. In addition, Sandra is now teaching courses in landscape and abstraction for pastels at the Pastel Society of America at the National Arts Club.
Sandra still finds the visual excitement and vitality of New York City to be a dynamic influence in her work, and has chosen to focus on this energy of movement, light, and color as her principal subject matterin addition to still lifes and the exotic landscapes encountered on her travels. While she continues to exhibit her couture collection, jewelry and accessories, she is now more likely to stop while painting her silk yardage on the mountaintops of Big Sur and unpack her pastels, oil paints, and watercolors and capture the landscape scenery as well.