Tammie Ruben | Points Of Origin

11 January – 8 March 2024

Tammie Ruben

Points Of Origin

New York

Artist Profile
Tammie Ruben

In this latest collection, Rubin employs ceramic sculptures, prayer fans, and plotter ink drawings as an entryway into a complex historical narrative. Contemplating the faith of Black Americans in their ongoing striving for autonomy and full citizenship, she has created objects of power inspired by the women in her family and the care they have personally imprinted into everything they have done, both in the home and in the workplace. In this way the collection serves as a testament to struggle, as well as an homage to the creative power of engaging in the complexities of everyday life as an embodiment of faith in a better future.

​Working in a variety of mediums and featuring pieces from her ongoing, iconic series, Always & Forever, (forever, ever), this expanded selection builds on Rubin’s porcelain work to include larger stoneware sculptures, digitally generated ink drawings, and masonite collages. Together, the works conjure interwoven stories of survival, striving, spiritual escape and relocation that mark the journey from the great migration to the present day and beyond. They also serve as a celebratory documentation honoring Rubin’s personal lineage, one that she carries forward as both an artist and an educator.

​Rubin sources family photos, archival images, maps, and historical milestones to counter the deletion of Black Americans from American narratives. In her plotted drawings, her grandmother, mother, and aunts transform into saints with mustard and collard green halos, symbolizing each woman’s individual path while highlighting the universal labor of Black women at the core of family, as well as the development of our country. Her masonite prayer fans play with images and narrative deconstruction of “American life.” The fans become an active memorial of negotiating everyday realities.

​Rubin’s conical sculptures reference hoods, headdresses, and helmets, and manifest power, awe, anonymity, horror, and magical thinking. The sculptures have a wide range of references from Catholic capirote hats, Ku Klux Klan hoods, and West African & Aboriginal headdresses, to dunce caps and medieval helmets. Suspended somewhere between familiarity and uncertainty, these sculptures capture the duality that is at the heart of Black life in the United States.