Conceptually the recycled aluminum is a logical next step for this California artist, known for her sculptural projections of scrap airplane parts. The postwar playground animals were made from aluminum recycled from World War II military airplanes, discovered for sale in the Mojave Desert. Rubins, who has been working with metal trash since the 1970s, has been a forerunner in the recent artistic focus on trash—the inevitable third step in the 20th century dialectic of production and consumption. In one sense, the emotional resonance of this new series is nearly nil. Yet in another, Rubins’s work speaks to the material and organic instabilities of our increasingly precarious environment and adds to the global alarm: we’re not in Kansas anymore.
A version of this story originally appeared in the October 2014 issue of ARTnews on page 112.