Victor Rubin

Northwest Kimberley
The Lay of the Land.

Fox Galleries is proud to present Northwest Kimberley…The Lay of the Land by Victor Rubin. This online exhibition can be viewed here or in our stockroom through March 6 – April 2 2019.

Northwest Kimberley…The Lay of the Land… is a collection of rare gouaches created by Victor Rubin in 1992.

After returning from London and Paris in 1990, Rubin travelled around Australia which inspired a body of landscapes. A number of these were acquired by the late Hugh Jamieson for himself and his law firm, which went on to finance a return to the Kimberleys on Beverley Hill Station.

These landscapes, bearing a sense of anatomy through the landscape, engage Rubin’s investigations into the spirit of the place. Some works were made partly en plein air, and partly in the studio.

These unique gouaches, now featured in this special online exhibition, have never been exhibited before now.

As the artist writes:

The lay of the land is sacred, the shapes of its anatomy forms the body, expressing how and why such a natural timelessness exists as pure energy ‘Yorro Yorro’[1]. Forming forms of rhythmic rock formations, explaining time’s eternity, turns boulders into faces and creatures – surprised to be noticed.

There they looked at me as they felt me in their seeing – my hand guides my faith on paper – in the underlying spirit of this place – like in a whirly whirly emanation – its vibration received and channelled…Amen.

The lay of the land is ‘Wandjina’[2] in which I wonder and wander a stranger and guest in these parts. The year I spent there coiled like a snake around a sword – in memory’s mind. The serpent’s choice was heeded…a lesson in dream time extended as the Song of the Earth came from within – so sacred is the lay of the land.


[1] Mowaljarlai  D & Malnic, J. (1993). Yorro Yorro: Everything Standing Up Alive. Broome: Magabala Books

[2] Wandjina, the Creator


Victor Rubin has been inspired by Western traditions of representation for over five decades with metaphysical work on the self and the environment.

Using visual language like a literary master Rubin explores the most universally complex questions of existence through allegorical visions referencing the apocalypse, mass migration, world wars, everyday surroundings, utopia and love with equal amounts of seriousness and ambiguity. Rubin’s ever-evolving approach is the result of a life dedicated to aesthetic inquiry and studied emulation of prehistoric art and Western art from Impressionism  to Modernism, Cubism, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art and beyond. As Rubin put it, “The history of art is in my work.”

In 1967, aged 16, Rubin started attending Olsen Bakery Art School in Sydney. Encouraged by John Olsen Rubin read ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’ by T. S. Elliot on how emulating masters gives one the ability to perceive the spirit of one’s own time and place – the zeitgeist. Since then Rubin has been diligently building on the past in order to explain the present world to the future, while avoiding short lived trends. What results is work that offers an uncompromising vision of life in today’s world.

Rubin worked as a high school art teacher and later as a lecturer at the Canberra School of Art and Victorian College of the Arts. Before relocating to Melbourne Rubin lived in London from 1988 to 1990, was an artist in residence at the Cite Internationale Des Arts, Paris in 1990 and worked at the Beverley Springs Station in North West Kimberley, WA from 1992 to 1993. He now lives and works in Castlemaine, VIC.

Rubin’s work has been exhibited in over fifty solo exhibitions and numerous group exhibitions including Vox Pop – Into the Eighties at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1983-84,  Australian Perspecta at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1983 and 1985, Identities: Art from Australia at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum in Taiwan in 1994 and Return of the White Bull at Geelong Regional Gallery in 2004.

Rubin’s works are held in numerous public collections including the Australian National Gallery, Canberra, NGV, AGNSW, Queensland Art Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Auckland City Art Gallery, New Zealand and more. The late Patrick White and Miles Davis are amongst Rubin’s private collections in Australia, Asia, the US, UK and Europe.

John Olsen said, “At my Bakery Art School, Victor had an immense capacity for work… Thirty five years afterwards the compulsiveness has remained, the emphasis on creative attitudes mutated… He gives us works of significant diversity and originality. His work macro and micro continues to captivate, amuse and disturb. From cocoon to butterfly in his long journey he is surviving as an important artist…”



2017 Fellia Melas Gallery, Sydney

2015 Fellia Melas Gallery, Sydney

2012 Eva Breuer Art Dealer, Sydney

2011 Eva Breuer Art Dealer, Sydney

2010 Chapman & Bailey Gallery, Melbourne


2010 Archibald Prize, AGNSW, Sydney

2009 Sir John Sulman Prize, AGNSW, Sydney

2006 Blake Prize Finalist, Sydney

2006 Sir John Sulman Prize, AGNSW, Sydney

2005 After Van Gogh: Australian Artists in Homage to Vincent, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery

Full CV

Artist Profile