Tuesday, September 27, 2011

PRESS RELEASE: Helen Rabin at Blinking Light Gallery in Plainfield

From Oct. 20th through Nov. 13th, the Blinking Light Gallery, 16 Main St. in Plainfield, will present Still Rising, an exhibit of figurative landscapes and still-life paintings in oil by Marshfield artist Helen Rabin. There will be a reception for the artist Friday, Oct. 28 from 4:00-6:30 pm. Regular Gallery hours are 2-6 pm Thurs.; 10am-6pm Fri-Sun.

For most of her adult life, Helen Rabin, of Marshfield, Vermont, has known the delights and self-doubts of painting. Some years ago, writing reflectively about her art, she summed up an abiding wish in an elegantly simple statement. “If I could only learn to put paint down in a beautiful way,” she said, “I wouldn’t want much else.”

Helen, a Russian Studies major, took a single art history class in college. The experience failed to dazzle -- an outcome helped along by a professor who churned through the material in a surpassingly dreary manner. “It was dry…just terribly dry stuff,” she recounted with annoyance. It could have derailed her interest then and there. But in time she realized how vital the subject matter was to a painter’s developing eye and artistic vocabulary. Thereafter, she found great pleasure in immersing herself, on her own, in the study of art history. “Artists do stand on the shoulders of those who came before,” Helen said. She paused and then added with gentle conviction, “Whether they think they do or not.”

Helen Rabin is alternatively known to many in the area for her star turn at bread baking, especially in the heyday of the bygone family business known as Upland Bakers in Marshfield. In a wide region of the state now pleasantly rife with makers of whole grained and artisan breads, the Rabins were the very first local producers of such baked goods. What’s more, they did it in a wood-fired oven of their own design which gave the bread an incomparably toothsome texture and flavor.

Why go on about the oven…and the baking? Perhaps because they are illustrative of Helen’s approach to creative problem solving, i.e., to learn by venturing forth. And also, to teach by showing what an intelligent devotion to a project or a principle can yield.

You can read the full text of this profile of Helen Rabin by Ricka McNaughton on the Blinking Light website.