Bricks or Barrels? Royden Rabinowitch at The Richard Demarco Gallery

Publication: The Student (1983) January 2018

It would  be unfair, and indeed   foolish  to  try  to commit Royden Rabinowitch’s   philosophy of art to words  in  an article of this  size  and  dimension· It  is however possible to describe in  outline who and  what  has  influenced Rabinowitch over the years and to outline his ideas  if even in the most basic terms.

At the opening of his exhibition, and also his European debut,  Rabinowitch   explained  to   an invited audience the meaning  of  his  art.  The guests were asked to stand  against  the walls  of the small gallery and observe the Barrel Constructions  which occupied the floor space.  

Royden’s sculpture is inextricably linked with the  past and the great sculptural traditions of ancient Egypt and Greece.  He has followed closely the works of other sculptors such as Rodin,  Picasso and, most recently, Anthony Caro and Robert Smithson.   

Rabinowitch explained that up until the time of Smith, sculptors had been  concerned with the development of  the anthropomorphic form: constructions which deal with the representation o1 the human body. Rabinowitch has, however, moved his work to a further stage of development. He describes his work as “a collection of moments: areas of time”. 

His  work alludes to the human body, but at the same time avoids the anthropomorphic imagery of Smith.  

For some, Royden Rabinowitch’s work may appear little more than a series of half-heartedly thrown together bits of barrel. Cynics  may  also compare this important event in Scottish art to· the experience of several years ago, when Carl Andre  exhibited  his “collection of  bricks” on the floor of the Tate Gallery. However, before one can judge, one must observe and this is strongly advisable in the case of  Royden Rabinowitch’s art. 

Giles Sutherland

Article by Giles Sutherland. Photograph by David PETHERICK