In the world of mixed-media sculpture, artist Jennifer Rabin is shaping her own unique path with a new series of work — a departure from the notions that once guided her creative process. Known for meticulous, minimalist works that evoke a sense of devotion, Rabin is immersed in an exploratory phase. This development within her own creative experience resonates with the 2024 PMRCAA residency theme of Transitions and Migrations.

“I always had a perfect image of the final piece in mind,” Rabin says, “but this series is different. It’s about embracing the unknown.”

Her studio is filled with an unconventional array of materials — sheep’s wool, dog fur, even bags of cat hair brought by friends. “It’s amazing,” she remarks.

Rabin began her creative journey as an arts writer whose work appeared in esteemed publications such as Kenyon Review, The Sun, Harvard Review, The Rumpus, Hyperallergic, Oregon Humanities, and Bitch. From 2015–2017, she was the visual arts writer for  Portland, Oregon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning weekly, Willamette Week. 

Rabin’s transition into the world of visual art began when she took her first art class at age 36. While she grew up surrounded by artists and had dabbled in visual art, she hadn’t found a medium of choice until she stumbled into sculpture. 

The shift towards found materials is symbolic of personal and global transitions.

“These last few years have been enormous for everyone,” Rabin says. “Structures crumbled, and I felt isolated due to disability during the pandemic.”

Her art is a tangible exploration of rebuilding — creating new structures that offer safety and protection.

Her work is minimalist and textured. Rabin often focuses on form and line, eschewing color due to neurodivergence.

“Color maxes out my nervous system,” Rabin says. “I prefer to work with texture and shape.”

Her current approach reflects a deliberate departure from her previous methodological approach to art, emphasizing spontaneity and process-driven exploration.

The opportunity for Rabin to participate in a residency aligns harmoniously with her creative vision. The boneyard — a repository of abandoned treasures at Pine Meadow — holds particular allure to Rabin. “I’m curious how these objects will influence my pieces,” Rabin says. “So far I’ve been working small in this series, but maybe the boneyard will affect the scale of the work.” For Rabin, the residency represents a sanctuary for experimentation and growth. 

As Rabin delves into transitions and migrations, her work becomes not just a reflection, but a roadmap for embracing change and rebuilding amidst uncertainty that is omnipresent in day-to-day life. 

About Jennifer

Jennifer Rabin (She/Her) – Portland, OR

Jennider Rabin is a  mixed-media sculptor who began a visual art practice later in life, after a fifteen-year career as a writer.  In the past, she began each sculpture with an exact image in her head of what she wanted the sculpture to look like. This recent body of work has been a complete departure for Rabin, entirely process-driven, exploratory, and free.

Join Rabin for an open studio on May 30 from 4 – 6 p.m.

Published On: May 10th, 2024 / Categories: Pine Meadow Ranch, Pine Meadow Ranch Programs /