October 05, 2006

Mil Cosas

Mil Lubroth
was an American artist of Polish and Russian descent who came to settle in Madrid, where her chic, short name took on an extra meaning. In castellano, Mil means a thousand. Just right for an artist whose work could never be "pinned down," or categorized by any one theme or direction.

To experience Lubroth's work is akin to hearing a chorus of voices from Sheherazade's 1001 nights: it is to see and feel a thousand things united in one intriguing and beautiful visual journey. If you are anywhere near Madrid during October, invite yourself to a banquet of Mil's "mil cosas" at Annta Gallery. The exhibit that opens October 5th is the first retrospective of Lubroth's work since her death in 2004.

Spanning 50 years, these works reveal an artist who was never less than mature and skilled in her work. There is no sign of awkward beginnings, improvement over time or deepening development. Here is Minerva, beginning her artistic trajectory fully formed, but never "done," always eager to extend that formation into new territories.

This show is testimony to a series of personal and professional victories. The victory of the young New York woman fresh out of the High School for Music and Arts, continuing her art studies through college, graduate school and into her stint as a Fulbright Fellow in Vienna. The victory of a marvelous mother of four remarkable children, all now grown into artists and scientists in their own right. And, perhaps the greatest victory of all, a lone American woman swimming against the currents--the thick, intransigent currents--of a Spanish art world in which, for much of the 20th century, men, oil painting, and only traditional oil painting, ruled.

Lubroth quietly, persistently, and brilliantly broke new ground, investing her painting and drawing skills into serigraphy, where her inimitable alchemy rendered not only unique works of art, but also visions in the highest sense of the word. Although her work is part of private, museum, and institutional collections around the world and numerous awards were hers to claim, she never saw the level of fame that some of her " hugely famous" Spanish contemporaries did. And, without question, as much recognition as her work received, it deserved much more.

Lubroth, however, reaped a tremendous reward that the hugely famous can rarely claim. She was a master of the art of being human, an art which she never subordinated to either her great talent or her groundbreaking work. Anyone who knew her can recall her smile and her blazing blue eyes, her great ability to dance to any kind of music, her grace and poise in the face of life's disappointments, and her constancy as a true friend. Part of the genius of her work is that her artful humanity shines through it, so skillfully expressed: the thought, the feeling, the humor, the sorrow, and the joy--the abiding current beneath all others.

This is the kind of art the world needs now, more than ever. A place reserved on paper or canvas, where cultures meet and entertwine in peace and beauty, a place where the eyes, mind, and heart can rest, but rest with great interest and enjoyment.
These pictures are special places not because Lubroth's work takes one away, but rather within. They grant rest from the world without abandoning that world and its delightful and troubling paradoxes. Lubroth's aesthetic both synthesizes and transcends, never settling for fame, ever reaching for greatness.

Don't miss this exhibit! You'll be missing "Mil cosas," if you do.
Annta Gallery
Calle Almirante , 1
28004 Madrid
34 91 521 2353

Text, copyright 2006 Ysabel de la Rosa. All rights reserved.
Images, copyright 2006 Adam Lubroth. All rights reserved.

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