Glen Rubsamen was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1957. He lives and works between Los Angeles and Düsseldorf, Germany.
Glen Rubsamen is basically obsessed with painting sunrises and sunsets.
The paintings portray a battle between organic and manmade elements, but this conflict seems to take place among completely artificial forces. The vegetation seems to be from a sci-fi horror movie and the manmade elements are all creations of multinational telecommunications companies along the lines of T-mobile or Vodafone. They are creatures, plants fighting robots, all painted in backlight against a bright but sickly sky. Rubsamen contravenes the existing treatises on the landscape genre, applying the strict rules of atmospheric classicism in exactly the wrong ways, using shadow to create depth and light for flatness. The trees and vines in the paintings seem almost human and the cell phone towers and lampposts exude an organic feeling akin to vegetation. Everything in these paintings is somehow the opposite of reality, yet the results are strangely plausible. Rubsamen has created a world where dawn mixes with dusk, while mythical characters seem to be fighting in the foreground like titans, yet they are merely ancient palm trees and microwave antennas of the latest generation.
The artist’s hyperrealistic painting is reminiscent of contre-jour photography, where the foreground motifs appear as black silhouettes. There is hardly any other motif linked as strongly with the notion of desire than sunrises and sunsets reflecting the emotions of our existential insignificance contrasted with the expansiveness of the world. In Rubsamen’s paintings the sun’s rising and setting is a metaphor for birth and death, the cycle of life.