“Erotic art to me is never the act,” explains seasoned painter/draftsman Cornel Rubino, who resides in Charles Village with his artist wife, Linda Gravina Ridings. “It’s the small suggestion accompanying it. The tightly gripped handkerchief between the teeth of a figure in a work by Utamaro; the baroque excess in pen drawings by the Marquis von Bayros; the nape of a woman’s neck in a painting by Hammershoi; Manet’s brushwork.”
Rubino, 64, teaches art at MICA. From his Clipper Mill studio, he draws and paints an array of pleasant imagery that seems to, well, adore the figures it depicts—including his sweet, round Picasso-esque nudes but also a range of fully clad figures. (He illustrates for national commercial clients as well.)
There’s something so refreshing about the delicate—and deliciously playful—way in which Rubino hints at sexuality in his work. Consider his series of drawings “Against Nature,” for example, which feature pairs of men and women, and women and women and men and men clasping the opposite ends of a single fish in their partnering mouths.
Does he consider his wide offering of nude drawings and paintings to be erotic?
“I can’t tell,” Rubino says. “I just work.”
Okay, who and what are some of his inspirations?
“Giotto, Giulietta Masina, Brassai, the tip of my wife’s nose and watching her apply lipstick,” the artist says.
Rubino really doesn’t have to explain his sensual style after all—probably more fun to luxuriate in his artwork’s coy mystery.
> Keep up with Rubino at cornel-rubino.com and cornel-rubino.tumblr.com.