New York

Adrianne Rubenstein, Love Letter, 2020, oil on panel, 35 × 23".

Adrianne Rubenstein, Love Letter, 2020, oil on panel, 35 × 23".

Adrianne Rubenstein

Deli Gallery

I made a big mistake by walking through “Ruby in the Dust,” Adrianne Rubenstein’s exhibition at Brooklyn’s Deli Gallery, without a checklist in hand. Sure, I found plenty to enjoy in her ebullient, inventively composed oils—her painterly and coloristic gusto would probably have precursors such as Asger Jorn, George McNeil, or Don Van Vliet nodding in accord. But I “got” her works in another way when their titles clued me in to just how much humor is in them. Yes, I could see that the subject of that mostly pink-and-orange horizontal painting resembles a lumpy sofa, but it was quite something else to have it identified, more specifically, as her Childhood Couch from Memory (all works 2020). On an adjacent wall was a pileup of forms that might or might not have recalled a still-life arrangement of fruit. In the work’s upper-right corner was a golden cup with three straws—or worms, or spoons,

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