Art uncovered and recovered – Gideon Rubin


I have just discovered the artist  Gideon Rubin.  His expressionistic art, does not rely of the facial features to put across mood or sentiment, he lets the body language speak for itself.  The artist uses subtle tones to convey mood and meaning into the blank expressions of the figures. 

Here’s a quote by the artist;- 

“Quickly scraping an old image and putting down a new one on top was my own way to express markings of time. I cover the canvas over and over again with an image observed or imagined. Focusing on tonal variations, applied on small or large canvases, my paintings seem to create a sense of gloom – a pale light that, far from being colorless, contains purple, orange, blue and crimson. I try to create an image embodied with mystery, like a deja vu, as if seen before; an image lost, much like a memory. ” (sweet-station) 


It is fascinating how we automatically fill in the ‘blanks’ of the faces, using our own emotions to interpret the body language.  I’m not sure how this works, or even if everyone interprets differently, but here’s my intepretation (for what it’s worth)  How much does it  differ from yours? 


The top image coveys to me contemplation, that the boy is concentrating his thoughts.  There is an air of seriousness about him, he isn’t smiling but he isn’t sad either – just thoughtful.  The second image seems expectant to me, like he is anticipating something, sitting back and waiting.    The third image is interesting because it shows a relationship between the two girls.  My thoughts are that these two are sisters.  The blonde girl is bolder than her dark sister, who holds her back protectively.  I get the feeling that the dark-haired one is frightened and perhaps more timid.  These are only my interpretations – it would be interesting to see others. 

  Lots of his portraits here in this excellent site 

more about this artist’s work here

17 thoughts on “Art uncovered and recovered – Gideon Rubin

  1. Very odd work…my take was similar to what a dog or any other animal might think about humans…we all probably look the same to them.

  2. I find this fascinating. One of my children goes to a Rudolph Steiner (Waldorf) school. They give the kids dolls that have no faces. The theory is that they are free to use their imagination to decide what expression the have as they play with them. I’ve always found them a bit creepy, as are these paintings (in a good way).

  3. Now that’s interesting Kirsty, I wonder if that sort of imaginative game in any way influenced the artist in his ideas? I’ve never come across this kind of art before.

  4. I love this kind of art, Lynda. There are many artists who leave faces off for different reasons and it usually enhances the figure work. I believe the artist is giving the viewer a special gift by making these figures, in these situations timeless and meaningful to everyone’s life. Who can’t come up with an idea of a time where these figures may have been someone they knew or himself at some time in their life? I will post some examples from my faceless period of drawing and explain why and link to this post of yours. Once again a very special post. Thank-you.

  5. This is great Leslie! I didn’t know you’d done these – it’s the first time I’ve seen this type of art before so I’ll look forward to seeing yours!
    I never thought about the artist bestowing a gift – but you are right of course! What fascinates me is the intuitive feeling I get when looking at these, as if I know what they are thinking:) strange work – but thought provoking and effecting too:)

  6. This was really interesting! I recently did a painting of my niece that I loved…. except I never did get her face right. It was in watercolor and I ended up overworking the face and just trying to make it look plain, to save the painting. I really appreciated this post!

  7. That’s a shame Beth! I never know how to stop. If I don’t finish a painting straight off – it will stay unfinished, I can’t go back to it….and the face is always overworked:) So I do think this is a great idea! Glad you enjoyed the post, thanks for visiting – appreciated!

  8. Very interesting post. I find the faceless figures a bit disturbing. And while I understand why an artist may not put in a face, I’m not sure I could live with one of those paintings.

    That said, I also find that making these figures faceless makes them completely anonymous. Living in a big city, being anonymous can be good.

    Maybe I do like them after all. I think I need to look at them some more.

  9. Leslie’s done some good ones on her blog too Carol. An intriguing thing to do – letting the figure ‘speak’ for itself with body language. Glad you enjoyed it Carol, going to check out your site (meant to the other day – sorry)

    1. I think the difference between this artist’s work and Leslie’s is that Leslie’s figures are (for the most part) fluid and the line work of her sketches feels different to me than a painting.

      As an aside, I have a friend who owns two pieces by this artist. They are smaller pieces. My friend feels that in the larger pieces the artist is just being lazy by not putting in the faces! LOL

      Overall, it’s just good to discuss it no matter which side of the fence one is on.

  10. I can see how the smaller pieces would work better than the larger scale, the ‘gap’ may be a little disconcerting. Still, to each his own. Interesting discussion either way:)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: