• Raquel Rabinovich

    Born 1929 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Lives and works in Rhinebeck, New York.
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  • For me, making art is a transformative confrontation. The very execution of the work - whether drawing, painting or sculpture...

    Raquel Rabinovich, Rhinebeck, NY, 2019

    For me, making art is a transformative confrontation. The very execution of the work - whether drawing, painting or sculpture – leads me to experience no gate or barrier, the work and I become one, there is no more inside or outside. The process of working – layer upon layer of lines, paint, glass or stone – seems to obliterate what is not and reveal what is, what I call 'essence.' To apprehend this essence, which is beyond thought and has no boundaries, the viewer too needs to go through a gateless gate.


    – Raquel Rabinovich

  • The Dark Is Light Enough, 1963

    The Dark Is Light Enough 8, 1963, Oil on linen

    The Dark Is Light Enough


    The Dark is Light Enough is a series of paintings.


    This series marked the beginning of a lifelong investigation into the nature of existence through the exploration of what I call the ‘dark source.’ There is a difference between blackness and darkness. A dark place invites one to investigate, to dig in, to know more as it is difficult to see in the dark, both literally and metaphorically. It is a way of going deeper and deeper into dark places as a source of wisdom and knowledge, which is well known in mythology. While working on this series of paintings, I received in the mail from a friend a book entitled The Dark is Light Enough, by Christopher Fry. I was struck by the title and -- realizing that it perfectly embodied the meaning of my new paintings-- decided that that should be their title. Being in Argentina where the language is Spanish, I wanted to find a poetic translation for it, but I couldn’t find it on my own. I went then to the Biblioteca Nacional in Buenos Aires where the director at the time was Jorge Luis Borges. I asked him whether he would translate it for me. He did; his translation was exquisitely poetic: “La oscuridad tiene su luz."

    – Raquel Rabinovich

  • Raquel Rabinovich speaking about "The Dark Is Light Enough"

    Original audio excerpt from the 2/22/2002 recording of Jung, Art & the Alchemical Imagination with Ann McCoy and Gary Bobroff, Founder of JUNG Archademy

    Hear Audio On Vimeo
  • New York

    Raquel Rabinovich in her studio in Huntington, New York, 1968

    New York

    Raquel Rabinovich and her family moved to Huntington, NY in 1967:

    We moved here in '67. The late '60s is mostly discovering so much going on in New York, . . . which is nonstop new things, and new movements, and new artists, and new approaches. It was a fantastic experience for me to embrace all of that, to see and to understand. It was all there. I moved to the city in 1979 (...)

    - Raquel Rabinovich (AAA interview)



  • Dimension Five

    I was fascinated by the extraordinary art movements of the 1960s. Exposure to these art movements contributed to changes in my artistic approach. While I continued my exploration of the ‘dark source’ my paintings, beginning with the series 'Dimension Five' which I exhibited in 1973, became more refined and monochromatic

    - Raquel Rabinovich

  • American Abstract Artists (AAA), 1980s

    Agnes Denes, Wheatfield - A Confrontation: Battery Park Hill (Aerial View), 1982, Two acres of wheat planted and harvested by the artist on the Battery Park landfill, Manhattan, Summer 1982
    © 1982 by Agnes Denes

    American Abstract Artists (AAA)


    In an intervew with James McElhinney, Rabinovich recounts her time with the American Abstract Artists group in the 1980s: 

    ...And many times there, poets, friends would come to read and share poetry [in Rabinovich's Tribeca loft]. I think I mentioned the group AAA would come, and we had meetings there. Many artists were part of the Abstract American Artists group. I don't know if I remember all the names. There was a time when [Agnes Denes] began doing—I don't know if you remember—the Wheatfield in downtown Manhattan that she planted...Actually, I helped her planting the seeds there. We were very good friends. And my children helped also with planting the seeds with her.

    - Raquel Rabinovich (source: AAA interview)


  • Glass Environments, 1970s-1980s

    Gasaki, 1987, Grey and bronze tempered glass and wood, 120 x 60 x 57 in

    Glass Environments


    Not long after Rabinovich relocated from Argentina to New York in 1967, she began work on a series of sculptures made from plates of tinted grey and bronze glass with the help of the nonprofit organization Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.). Working with fabricators of tempered glass, Rabinovich produced a series of sculptures that range from tabletop maquettes to large-scale environments. She sees these as spatial extensions of her paintings, allowing her to work with transparency and opacity in three dimensions and create spaces that are “simultaneously accessible and inaccessible, open and enclosed, tangible and intangible, private and public, visible and invisible”— a set of paradoxical conditions that are present throughout her various bodies of work. By revealing the mechanics of human vision and perception, these glass environments evoke the work of Light and Space artists like Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, and James Turrell who, like Rabinovich, work primarily with “the medium of [one’s] own awareness.” While these works evoke the paired-down visual language of Minimalism, for Rabinovich they are metaphors for metaphysical, symbolic, and mathematical worlds. Rabinovich’s glass environments were exhibited at venues such as the Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; the Jewish Museum Sculpture Court, New York; and the Institute for Art and Urban Resources at P.S.1, Long Island City, New York.


  • Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.)

    Cover of Pavilion: Experiments in Art And Technology (1972)

    Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.)

    To create her glass sculptures, Rabinovich received support from the pioneering collective Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.). Founded in New York in 1966, E.A.T. fostered collaboration between artists and engineers. Artists associated with the program include Fujiko Nakaya, Yvonne Rainer, Robert Rauschenberg (co-founder), David Tudor, Andy Warhol, and Robert Whitman (co-founder).

    At the time there was something called Experiments in Art and Technology....The way they worked was that if an artist would have an issue, question, dilemmas, whatever, of a technological nature, [they] would call them and they would say, ‘Oh, so and so could help you.’ I made that call and they said, ‘Oh, you should meet with so and so.’ The person was called Martin Aaron. He was a consultant engineer in materials. We met together many times. I wanted to understand what glass meant, the nature of glass, how to use it, how to cut it, and he helped me.

    - Raquel Rabinovich (source: AAA interview)

  • Although my sculptures appeared to be minimalist, I think that in essence they were not. They were rather metaphors for...

    Rabinovich in her Tribeca loft, New York, 1987. Photographed by Peter Bellamy

    Although my sculptures appeared to be minimalist, I think that in essence they were not. They were rather metaphors for spaces that were simultaneously accessible and inaccessible, open and enclosed, tangible and intangible, private and public, visible and invisible. They referenced metaphysical, symbolic, architectural, and mathematical worlds. I was interested in how the dark but transparent glass panels suggested spaces where reality and illusion intertwined in a continuous flow. They offered the viewers the opportunity to be at once observers and participants.

    – Raquel Rabinovich

  • Cloister, Crossing, Passageway, 1.32

    Site-specific sculpture installation 3/8” grey tempered glass and silicone adhesive 108” high x 400” long x 72” wide

    'Cloister, Crossing, Passageway, 1.32' is a deceivingly simple glass installation, from which complexity emerges. The work makes references to metaphysical, symbolic, architectural, and mathematical worlds. It is an invitation to perceive new realms of meaning. The piece is about a certain vision where we can look at the world from the inside and outside at the same time.

    The transparency of the glass acts as a metaphor for a space that is simultaneously accessible and inaccessible, open and enclosed, tangible and intangible, private and public, visible and invisible. 

    - Raquel Rabinovich, (statement revised, 2010)

  • Installation views, Graduate Center Mall, City University of New York, NY, September 14 – October 17, 1978, Later exhibited at The Jewish Museum Sculpture Court, New York, NY, April 9 - Summer 1979
  • At CUNY Graduate Center Mall on 42nd Street I did my first large glass installations: 'Cloister, Crossing, Passageway, 1.32'....I would make a maquette, a scale model, and then a glass factory would fabricate the big panels in scale, temper them, and ship them to the site of the installation, where, with the help of assistants, I would assemble the glass panels together, using silicone, an adhesive....[The title implied] an enclosed space, geometry, crossings, passageways....One point three two, is a mathematical proportion, which I used [to connect the different glass panels], like it wasn't accidental this length with that length. They were all connected mathematically. It was a time when I became very interested in the Fibonacci series and sacred architecture.
    -Raquel Rabinovich (source:
    AAA interview)

  • Point/Counterpoint

    Robert Moses Plaza at Lincoln Center, New York, 1985 3/8" bronze tinted tempered glass and silicone adhesive, 102" h x 210" l x 120" w

    'Point/Counterpoint' is an outdoor installation of bronze tinted glass. I am interested in how the dark but transparent glass walls open up a space where reality and illusion intertwine in a continuous flow. In this space we can at once be both observers and participants. This work was destroyed by Hurricane Gloria on September 26, 1985 and was re-built in October. In between, I created a one-day installation on September 27, titled, Raquel Rabinovich and Hurricane Gloria, a collaboration. This new installation included the remnants of the broken glass on which I placed a scale model of the original work, and the following statement: 'When cities, buildings, and monuments are consumed by time, they slowly become ruins, and deterioration is a gradual historical process. When a catastrophe strikes, destruction takes place suddenly. There is no deterioration, no process, and no history. What we have is an instant ruin.'

    - Raquel Rabinovich on Point/Counterpoint


  • Past Exhibitions and Publications

  • Raquel Rabinovich on using stone

    March 2021

    Raquel Rabinovich describes viewing stone temples in India, inspiring her to work with the material in this video conversation with American artist, educator and art critic Ann McCoy.

  • Pabhavikas

    Site specific stone sculpture installations, Rhinebeck, NY

    Pabhavika is a Pali word that means arising, emerging from, a constant state of emergence. Pabhavikas is a series of 20 site-specific stone sculpture installations I created in the wooded area of my property in Rhinebeck, NY. The sculptures seem to emerge from the ground and merge with the trees, the earth, the sky, the autumn leaves, the winter snow, the sounds and the silence of nature.

    - Raquel Rabinovich

  • Raquel Rabinovich, "Pabhavikas 19," 1999-2000 Field stone 2 x 30 x 15 in. Photo Courtesy of Douglas Baz
  • Raquel Rabinovich "Pabhavikas 1," 1995-96 River split stone 3 x 13 x 32 in. Photo Courtesy of Douglas Baz
  • Emergences

    Emergences is a series of stone sculpture installations I created in site-specific locations along the shores of the Hudson River. They exist in a continual state of flux, being gradually concealed and revealed with the daily rising and falling of the river tides. They constantly emerge and submerge in and out of view.  At high tide the sculptures are concealed, covered by the waters. It takes six hours for them to be gradually revealed until they are in full view at low tide. Then it takes another six hours for the sculptures to gradually submerge until they are completely out of view at high tide. While some pieces disappear from view entirely to eventually become an invisible presence under the waters of the river, new pieces come into existence. Stones are repositories of history. Their layering in my sculptures suggests geological and cultural times. They evoke the history of the earth and the stages of life, and function as metaphors for the passage of time and the ephemeral nature of existence.

    – Raquel Rabinovich


    Images © Doug Baz, 2002

  • Photos Courtesy of Douglas Baz


  • Emergences

    Filmed by Camilo Rojas

    Emergences is a series of stone sculpture installations that Raquel Rabinovich created and Camilo Rojas documented in site-specific locations along the shores of the Hudson River. At high tide the sculptures are concealed, covered by the waters. Over a six hour cycle the waters recede and the sculptures are gradually revealed, becoming visible at low tide. Then another six hour period begins in which the waters rise and the sculptures slowly become invisible, until they are concealed again at high tide. They merge with their surroundings and shift with the ever-changing currents of the waters, the weather, and the seasons. Like the river itself, the sculptures are never the same. Like life, they are impermanent and exist in a perpetual state of flux. Stones are repositories of history. Their layering in the sculptures suggests geological and cultural times. The sculptures evoke the history of the earth and the stages of life. They function as metaphors for the passage of time and the ephemeral nature of existence.

  • Emergences map, Emergences, 2001-2013

    Emergences map

    Emergences, 2001-2013

    Locations of Rabinovich's Emergences along the Hudson River:

    Dutchmen's Landing Park, Catskill NY

    Ulster Landing Park, Saugerties NY

    Robert E. Post Park, Ulster NY

    Rotary Park, Kingston NY

    Lighthouse Park, Port Ewen NY

    Riverfront Park, Beacon NY

    Denning's Point State Park, Beacon NY

    Plum Point Park, New Windsor NY

    Riverfront Green Park, Peekskill NY

    Nyack Beach State Park, Nyack NY

  • Sculpture and Dance Collaboration


    Emergences exists in a constant state of flux, being gradually concealed and revealed with the daily rising and falling of the river tides. They constantly emerge and submerge in and out of view. Ancestral stones and flowing waters are in an ongoing conversation. Rabinovich’s sculptures evoke the history of the earth and the stages of life. They function as metaphors for the passage of time and the ephemeral nature of existence.  Emergences, Lighthouse Park was created in 2012, and on September 14th at 3:30 pm, 2013 Julie Manna engaged in a poetic dialogue with the installation through dance.  Dance unfolding into sculpture. Sculpture embracing dance. Merging, submerging, emerging…

  • Photography courtesy of Camilo Rojas
  • Sculpture and Dance Collaboration


    This video by Camilo Rojas documents the sculpture and dance collaborations between Raquel Rabinovich and Julie Manna, Hudson River, 2013.

  • Literature and Language

    Works in series such as 'When Silence Becomes Poetry' are...dedicated to poets I love and feel deeply connected to. The drawings are not illustrations of poems, but rather my visual response to the language of poetry, a language which transcends the physicality of words. Some of the poets included in that series are Federico García Lorca, Rainer Maria Rilke, Jorge Luis Borges, St. John of the Cross, Pablo Neruda and T.S Elliot.
    - Raquel Rabinovich

  • When Silence Becomes Poetry

  • Across the Perilous Line

    Across the Perilous Line 20, 2000, Graphite, charcoal wash and pastel on Nepalese paper, 21 x 33 in. 

    Across the Perilous Line

    Her drawing series Across the Perilous Line alludes to a poem by Charles Stein's The Hat Rock Tree:


    Whatever it is 

    it has

    beneath the broken sky

    its parts from elsewhere. 


    And parts from local regions. 


    And each part sleeps in its passage

    along the time of the thing it keeps its house in. 


    Rocks on the edge of the water

    lapping the surface of tose rocks

    and at their inward matters


    sending noises of water 

    across the vacant spaces


    And on the other shore

    the sounds are reconstructed 

    by the wardens of incoming noises...


    That you can be the kind you are and change

    into all the other kinds


    That all the other kinds can lose their marks 

          and move or change


    That the parts combine with the others

    in all the way they can combine

         according to the laws for that 


    And always 


                               that things

                           can remain as they are

                      and that this too

                                                       is change



    Learn more about Charles Stein here
  • Literary References

    Noted by Rabinovich, a number of authors and writers inform her practice
    • Jorge Luis Borges

      Jorge Luis Borges

      Short story writer, essayist, and poet Jorge Luis Borges was born in 1899 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Borges grew up speaking English and Spanish, and at the age of 15, he moved to Switzerland with his family, where he studied French and Latin and taught himself German. Well-read and well-traveled, the multilingual Borges transformed tales from the Old World into the new.

    • Italo Calvino

      Italo Calvino

      Italian novelist, short story writer, and journalist Italo Calvino was born in 1923. Calvino planned on studying agronomy at the University of Turin, but his first year was quickly interrupted by World War II and the German invasion of Italy. Calvino fought as a partisan for two years and wrote for a local communist party newspaper. Most of his early work reflected on these wartime experiences, however, as his work transitioned from realism to folktales, fantasy, and allegory, Calvino became one of the most important Italian fiction writers of the twentieth century.

    • Ann Lauterbach

      Ann Lauterbach

      Ann Lauterbach studied literature at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and Columbia University on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. She has authored ten poetry collections and has taught at Brooklyn College, Columbia University, the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, Princeton University, and the City College of New York. She is currently the Schwab Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College and co-Chair of Writing in their MFA Program.

    • Albrecht Dürer

      Albrecht Dürer

      An icon of German Renaissance art, Albrecht Dürer studied nature and the human form to revolutionize printmaking, create scientific illustrations in watercolor, and design large-scale altarpieces. The artist traveled from his home in Nuremberg, Germany, across the Alps, and into Venice in the late 1490s and early 1500s. During his trips, he drew inspiration from classical antiquity and contemporary humanism.

    • Adrienne Rich

      Adrienne Rich

      Writing through the feminist and civil rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s, poet and essayist Adrienne Rich explored themes such as identity, sexuality, and women’s liberation. After marrying and becoming a mother to three, Rich’s work grew more confrontational and decidedly political. Rich published two dozen volumes of poetry and nine of prose, addressing misogyny, racism, and the Vietnam War, and cementing herself as one of the most important public intellectuals of the twentieth century.

    • Edgar Allen Poe

      Edgar Allen Poe

      A master of short stories and literary theory, Edgar Allen Poe transformed American and international literature. His melancholic, melodramatic storytelling inspired contemporary horror, science fiction, and detective fiction. His most famous poem, “The Raven,” was published in 1845 and deals with the grief and tragedy of lost love.

    • George Quasha

      George Quasha

      As a poet, writer, musician, and artist, George Quasha uses language, sculpture, sound, installation, and performance to explore the relationship between art and poetry. Born in White Plains, New York in 1942, Quasha now lives in Barrytown, New York, where he runs Station Hill Press, a publisher of experimental poetry and prose.

    • Robert Kelly

      Robert Kelly

      Robert Kelly is an American poet born September 24, 1935 in Brooklyn, NY. He was associated with the deep image group. Kelly has published more than fifty books of poetry and prose, including Red Actions: Selected Poems 1960-1993 (1995) and a collection of short fictions, He also edited the anthology A Controversy of Poets (1965). He is the 2016-2017 Poet Laureate of Dutchess County.


  • The Dark is Light Enough

    Christopher Fry (1954)

    Rabinovich's inspiration for her painting series "The Dark is Light Enough" stems from a 1954 screen play The Dark Is Light Enough by Christopher Fry. Set during the Hungarian Revolution of 1948, and technically a comedy, Fry subtitled the play 'A Winter Comedy' to signal its tragic qualities.

    Argentine writer, historian, art critic and curator Damián Bayón sent Rabinovich the first edition of the book:

    In Buenos Aires, I began a way of working, which still continues today, that has a lot to do with what I call ‘the dark.’ ... Even the famous phrase that says, ‘If you [can see] the dark, you can see everything.’ It's like a metaphor to see beyond the surface. I can see behind and behind. So that became like a lifelong interest in exploring and inhabiting what is behind appearance, which I still do today with my sculptures, submerging in the water, or the mud I use for works on paper, coming from a dark place you don't see in the riverbed, and on and on and on.

    - Raquel Rabinovich

  • Invisible Cities

    Italo Calvino (1972)

    Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities inspired another one of Rabinovich's drawing series of the same name. The book explores imagination and the imaginable through the descriptions of cities by an explorer, Marco Polo. The book is framed as a conversation between the elderly and busy emperor Kublai Khan, who constantly has merchants coming to describe the state of his expanding and vast empire, and Polo. The majority of the book consists of brief prose-poems describing 55 fictitious cities that are narrated by Polo, many of which can be read as parables or meditations on culture, language, time, memory, death, or the general nature of human experience. Short dialogues between Kublai and Polo are interspersed every five to ten cities discussing these topics. These interludes between the two characters are no less poetically constructed than the cities, and form a framing device that plays with the natural complexity of language and stories. In one key exchange in the middle of the book, Kublai prods Polo to tell him of the one city he has never mentioned directly—his hometown. Polo's response: "Every time I describe a city I am saying something about Venice."

    In the mid-'80s, I resonated very much with a book called Invisible Cities, written by Italo Calvino. I even corresponded with him. He lived in Italy. And I got his permission to use passages of that book to inscribe in my drawings, which I did. And so the drawings are called Invisible Cities. I used rubber stamps to hand-stamp some of those passages.

    - Raquel Rabinovich (source: AAA interview)

    You can read and download Italo Calvo's Invisible Cities here
  • Rabinovich and Latin American Authors

    When Silence Becomes Poetry 5: for Jorge Luis Borges2018, Danube River mud, pencil and glue on Essindia paper,

    6 ¾ x 10 inches. Suite of six collages

    Rabinovich and Latin American Authors

    I think I have a connection to the magical worlds in Latin American literature personified by writers such as Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel García Márquez and Luisa Valenzuela. I resonate with those elements that are beyond the words, in between the lines, which are not literal.

    - Raquel Rabinovich


    I was also very touched by poetry and literature from Latin America, like Borges, Neruda, García Márquez, or Luisa Valenzuela, a contemporary writer, where the element of magic is very, very important. Beyond the language of the novel or the poem or the story, there is always an element that is beyond the words, in between the lines, which is not literal. And that world is, for me, a wonderful world. I love that world. I resonate with that world.

    - Raquel Rabinovich in conversation with Ann McCoy

  • “All artworks are writings, not just those that are obviously such; they are hieroglyphs for which the code has been lost, a loss that plays into their content.”

    Theodor W. Adorno 

  • River Library

    Rabinovich’s interests in rivers and language merge in the series River Library. To create these works, she submerges handmade paper into mud from rivers as near as the Hudson and as far-flung as the Ganges and the Paraná. When dry, she sometimes arranges them into diptychs resembling open codices, or rolls them into scroll-like forms. She has made hundreds of these “drawings” to date, each with a color and quality unique to its source. For Rabinovich, rivers, like stones, are “repositories of history,” containing information about a region’s geology as well as the past and present civilizations that have congregated along their shores. As such, the River Library works function like visual documents that record both natural and cultural history, where mud becomes “the alphabet of a language yet to be deciphered.”

  • Raquel Rabinovich: Excerpts Panel Discussion

    Pratt Institute, 2017
  • In 2002, after a visit to India where she collected mud from the Ganges River, Rabinovich began her River Library...

    Raquel Rabinovich at the Ganges River, Varanasi, India, c. 2002. Courtesy of the artist.

    In 2002, after a visit to India where she collected mud from the Ganges River, Rabinovich began her River Library series. Here, she used the mud from rivers around the world as a medium, repeatedly immersing paper in mud to create thick washes that penetrate the surface. The variety of river sediment offers a surprising array of textures from powdery fine dust to granular coarse sand, as well as colors from a deep chocolate brown to a shimmering ochre to soft, neutral gray. Some of the rivers represented here have a personal meaning: the Paraná is in her homeland, Argentina, and the Hudson is in New York, where she created the works. However, her interest in the locations are not only personal. She associates rivers with a global scope, encompassing a broad sweep over time.

    - Mary-Kay Lombino, The Darkest Dark One Can Imagine, 2018

  • “River Library is a series of drawings on handmade paper in which I use mud from rivers around the world as my drawing medium. Embodying the history of the earth and humankind, mud functions like the alphabet of a language yet to be deciphered, like a yet unwritten history of nature and culture, like a text that provides a memory of our existence: the drawing is the text and the text is the drawing.”

    - Raquel Rabinovich

  • Rivers

    Utilized by Rabinovich series such as "River Library"
    • River Library 74, Hudson River mud and glue on Essindia paper, 10 x 30 in

      River Library 74

      Hudson River mud and glue on Essindia paper, 10 x 30 in 2003

      The Hudson River flows southward from upstate New York’s Lake Tear of the Clouds (in the Adirondack Mountains) to New York City, where it drains into the Atlantic Ocean. Before the 315-mile river was renamed for English explorer and sailor Henry Hudson, the Mohicans called it Mahicannituck, “the river that flows both ways.”

    • River Library 303, Urubamba River mud and glue on Essindia paper, 15 1/2 x 24 in

      River Library 303

      Urubamba River mud and glue on Essindia paper, 15 1/2 x 24 in 2003-5

      The Urubamba River, once known to the Incas as “Willka Mayu” (“Sacred River”), runs northwest across the Andes Mountains in Peru and is a major tributary of the Amazon River. The 450-mile river is divided into the Upper Urubamba, with extensive Incan irrigation systems and ruins—most notably, Macchu Picchu—and Lower Urubamba, which is currently home to many indigenous peoples.

    • River Library 300, Paraná River sediment and glue on Essindia paper, 8 x 45 in

      River Library 300

      Paraná River sediment and glue on Essindia paper, 8 x 45 in 2007-08

      Flowing southward 3,030 miles through Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina, the Paraná River ends in the Atlantic Ocean. The Paraná River is the second longest river in South America (about 950 miles shorter than the Amazon River) and its name is an abbreviation of the Tupi phrase, “para rehe onáva,” “like the sea.”

    • River Library 300, Mississippi River mud and glue on Essindia paper, 16 x 22 in

      River Library 300

      Mississippi River mud and glue on Essindia paper, 16 x 22 in 2012-14

      Stretching from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River is the second-longest river in North America. The 2,320 mile river flows through ten states—Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missoui, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana—and drains all or part of a thirty-one states.

  • The Poetics of Water (River Library)

    10th International Cuenca Biennial, Ecuador, 2009

    Raquel Rabinovich's River Library is a site-specific sculpture installation and drawings shown at the 10th International Cuenca Biennial, Ecuador, 2009. The Poetics of Water.
    The sculpture installation is created using stones found in the four rivers of Cuenca: the Tomebamba, the Yanuncay, the Tarqui, and the Machangara.
    The drawings, from the River Library series, are made with sediment from some of the Earth's major rivers.

  • “I was an invited judge at the Cuenca Biennial in 2010. With respect to Raquel Rabinovich, I introduced her work...

    Julia P. Herzberg, José Noceda (chief curator of the Wifredo Lam Center, Havana and invited curator of the 10th Cuenca Biennial) Raquel Rabinovich (invited artist from the US), René Cardoso Segarra, President of the Cuenca Biennial (1989-2010).

    I was an invited judge at the Cuenca Biennial in 2010. With respect to Raquel Rabinovich, I introduced her work to José Nocedo, the guest curator of the Cuenca Biennial, who had asked me to recommend an American (US) artist because the US Embassy had just decided to participate. Since Cuenca is on a river, Raquel's work with stones from the river made an excellent site-specific installation. When the Biennial finished, the stones returned to the place of origin to rejoin the cycle of nature.”
    -Julia P. Herzberg on Raquel Rabinovich at the 10th Cuenca Biennial

  • Rabinovich: We were discussing the scrolls before. With every river I work with I usually make extra drawings I roll...

    Portrait of the artist. Pencil on paper by Phong Bui, 2014

    Rabinovich: We were discussing the scrolls before. With every river I work with I usually make extra drawings I roll into scroll configurations that I glue at the edges so you cannot open them again. You will never see the drawings, but you know they are there. The idea is that what is implied is as important as the physicality of the work itself. I will have an installation of between 100 and 200 scrolls on a table included in my exhibition at Y Gallery. Our contemporary world is very divided by wars, by rivalry, by greed. I think the idea of bringing all the scrolls together—the rivers are from all over the world—is a way of bringing the world together as one. Perhaps we can see the world as one, hopefully in the presence of that table.

    Rail: The river is also a destination for pilgrimages like the Kumbh Mela in India. Trips down the Nile for the Egyptian kings also involved layers of mud. The conquest of the Nile delta was not simply a military conquest. In Egyptian mythology it has to do with a kind of unification of upper and lower. The delta as an alluvial fan deposit represents an historical culmination.

    Rabinovich: Absolutely, we have the outer rivers and we have the inner rivers in our lives. Rivers don’t know any boundaries. They freely flow across the countries of the world. The idea that they come together in my work also brings the awareness that you don’t need to separate and divide. Before language came into existence there was oneness on our planet. And if you look at our planet today, it is near extinction because we intensified that segmentation, or separation. So, my desire to bring the rivers together relates too to what’s happening in real life.


    - Ann McCoy, Raquel Rabinovich With Ann McCoy, The Brooklyn Rail, 2013

    Read the Full article by Ann McCoy Here
  • River Library Scrolls, Photos Courtesy of Douglas Baz

    River Library Scrolls

    Photos Courtesy of Douglas Baz
  • "River Library Scrolls," 2002-2014. Table installation: 200 scrolls made with mud from rivers from around the world. Each scroll is a rolled and sealed drawing. River mud and glue on Essindia paper. Table: 30 x 91 1/2 x 25 1/2 in
  • ALBRECHT DÜRER and Melencolia 1

    Rabinovich references the work of Albrecht Durer, the German painter, printmaker, and theorist of the German Renaissance in her paintings, Homage to Albrecht Dürer. They are inspired by the enigmatic magic square in Albrecht Dürer's Melancholia 1, a 1514 engraving in which the sum of the inscribed numbers in any direction is 34. Magic squares are ancient symbols of occult or mythical significance and of esoteric spirituality. They imply the combination of numbers that were believed to be the source of the essence of wisdom.

  • ...Rabinovich embraces the illusive, ephemeral, and sometimes paradoxical aspects of symbols. Temples of the Blind Windows, for instance, is a...

    Raquel Rabinovich, Temples Of The Blind Windows 8, 1978-1983

    Ink wash, charcoal, graphite and rubber stamped black in on paper, 31 x 23 in. 

     ...Rabinovich embraces the illusive, ephemeral, and sometimes paradoxical aspects of symbols. Temples of the Blind Windows, for instance, is a series of works based on the Fibonacci sequence, a mathematical formula in which each number is found by adding the two numbers before it [1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, etc.]. The sequence was identified in the twelfth century but knowledge of it dates back to ancient times. The sequence has been found to be ubiquitous in nature: its numbers appear in the reproduction patterns of rabbits and the growth of flower petals, pine cones, and sunflower seeds, among other things. Rabinovich uses a combination of ink wash, charcoal, graphite and rubber stamps on handmade paper chosen specifically for its texture and weight to create a visual interpretation of the formula. Black numbers and grids sketched over a heavily worked, black background hover between opacity and elucidation, calling attention to the artist’s process of layering but also the loose grasp many of us have on mathematical concepts and their meaning. This ancient logic of nature is a language that goes beyond human systems. 


    - Mary-Kay Lombino, The Darkest One Can Imagine, 2018

  • Time of the Gazing

    Documentary which explores Raquel Rabinovich's work, part of the documentary program series "Learning in Progress," 2000.

  • In the Studio with Raquel Rabinovich
    Presented by American Abstract Artists, 2021
    Christian Nguyen

    In the Studio with Raquel Rabinovich

    Art Talks

    American Abstract Artist member Raquel Rabinovich shares her inspirations and how poetry and language are woven into her practice. The AAA has produced this short video profile as part an ongoing series of AAA Member Interviews.

    Watch on Youtube
  • About Raquel Rabinovich

    Raquel Rabinovich in her Rhinebeck, NY Studio, 2016. Photographed by Mariana Eliano

    About Raquel Rabinovich

    Raquel Rabinovich is a New York based, Argentine-American artist known for her monochromatic paintings and drawings as well as for her large scale glass sculpture environments and her site-specific stone sculpture installations along the shores of the Hudson River. Born in Buenos Aires in 1929, she has lived and worked in the United States since 1967, currently residing in Rhinebeck, NY. Rabinovich has been the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including the 2011-2012 Lee Krasner Award for Lifetime Achievement from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation. She is included in the Oral History Program of the Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Art.