Sheryl Rubinstein (1988)

empty room, glass, optical solution & laser transparency transfer, 19" x 22", 2002
oh mona, glass, optical solution & laser transparency transfer encaustic, 19" x 22", 2002
creature, ink jet print & optical solution, 20" x 13", 2006
hindu, ink jet print, optical solution & encaustic, 20" x 13", 2006
purple, ink jet print & optical solution, 20" x 13", 2006
wiggle5, ink jet print & optical solution, 20" x 13", 2007

My Work is a visualization of imagery described as "Purkinje effect", such as entopic phenomena, after images and visual persistence, retinal blood vessels and pattern distortions. Jan Purkinje was a medical scientist and researcher who lived from 1787 to 1869 and who was ahead of his time in his ability to describe visual phenomena triggered by various stimuli that are reflected from the optical surfaces of the eye. They include, for example: seeing shadows of your own retinal blood vessels, seeing viewed images that remain after you have closed your eyes, dark spots (or "floaters") and sparks of light with no apparent external cause and distortions of certain patterns when viewed for an extended period, particularly in different light. I have sought to create a tangible visualization of a variety of these images that I have seen, literally, in my own eyes.


I took a post bac at Columbia for two years to develop my portfolio and then entered the MFA program. When I look back in my experiences, one teacher stands out above all of them: Riva Potoff. Because I actually spent four years at Columbia (two as a post bac and two as a grad student), she was my teacher for the whole period. I think of all my instructors she had the most influence on the work I produced. She was exacting as well as demanding of extreme honesty and integrity in the work we produced. I spent my years mainly involved in sculpture, which was Riva's area of expertise. She taught me to respond to my work critically, objectively and most importantly, to appreciate how sculpture relates to space. It was one of the most challenging and demanding times of my life. I learned to work in all mediums: steel, wood, wax and many others. My classmates in many cases were as inspiring as my professors. One in particular, Annette Coniglio, I still keep in touch with. The class critiques were sometimes brutal, but by having to defend my work I learned how to look at my work in a critical manner. I found life at Columbia to be enormously challenging and inspirational. My courses in the Graduate Art History department were wonderful. Although I had years of art history in my under-graduate studies, the level of scholarship at Columbia was really stimulating. When I graduated and had a studio of my own, I could still hear the words of Riva Potoff challenging me to always make my work relevant.

All in all the four years that I spent at Columbia were amongst the best of my life.