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Belonging: Los Alamos to Vietnam

Meridel Rubenstein mixes mediums and metaphors to make art about our tenuous connection to place. Originally trained as a photographer, she combines disparate materials such as earthy palladium prints with cold steel mounts, transparent photographic imagery sandblasted onto glass, video imagery projected onto cast glass, and digital still imagery on floating vellum and hand-coated tree bark papers. A sense of fragility, transparency, and passage in her works underscores a possibility for change. Her complex narrative photoworks and installations derive from a sense of place, personal and collective history, and myth--the landscape of the cultural mind. Nine intersecting bodies of work compose this book. The Lowriders is a series of color photographs of the customized cars owned by Latinos from northern New Mexico. Critical Mass is a collaborative work about the making of the first bomb at Los Alamos. The intersecting of the world of the Native American and the Nuclear Scientist is told through the story of one woman who they met. Oppenheimer's Chair is a meditation on nature and the shedding of defensive postures after 50 years of the cold war. Also included is a series that stems from Rubenstein's 1997 trip to Vietnam, where she commenced a body of work tracing the trajectories of uprooting and replanting in relation to the Vietnam War.
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