Danielle Rubi, Golden Ratio, 2007 c-print 15×20 inches. Courtesy of Pocket Utopia.
Danielle Rubi is a photographer who lives in California and sees the Pacific Ocean everyday from a hill above a lagoon. During the past two years she has spent much time on the Pacific coast of Nayarit, Mexico, hosting friends and musicians at a family house and recording studio. Naturally, she photographs this world; the ocean, tan bodies, sandscapes, seabirds, wind glittering the waves. Coastal photography can easily lean toward cliché and commercial California imagery. To avoid taking such photographs, Rubi focuses on the details and salient moments rather than showcase the scenery.
In Coast, Rubi shows a group of photographs (color prints and cyanotypes) with watercolors, drawings, and objects that illuminate the magic of where the water meets the land, and its effect on human behavior and mindset. The subject matter comes from her community of friends and environs. The frames of the photographs and the shelves for the objects are made from wood gleaned from the house in Santa Barbara, CA, in which she grew up. Both the wood and the objects are the fabric of Rubi's personal world; they show the context of the images, and are a physical connection to her.
A cluster of undeniable, deep-rooted symbols appears in the group of photographs. Water becomes womb-like when a person floats in it (weightless body, weightless mind). Pelicans travel, sophisticated, in a giant,sideways V, a shape that is both the feminine V of earthly fertility, and the phallic pyramid, pointed skyward. The spiral of water off a girls flipping hair draws us into the universal infinity described by Carl Jung, depicted by innumerable prehistoric and indigenous artists, and linked eternally, like the nautilus shell, to the golden ratio.
Pocket Utopia is an away-from center, off-center, exhibition, salon and social space run by artist Austin Thomas.