The title of this show is taken from Flannery O’Connor’s “Everything That Rises Must Converge,” a 1965 short story about an altercation between a white woman and a black woman riding a bus in the South shortly after the desegregation of the public transportation system.
A series of small-scale paper collages, Everything That Rises depicts two types of sites in the artist's adopted home state of New Jersey: former safe houses on the Underground Railroad and locations of Civil Rights Era riots. Today these places are hair salons, empty fields, boutique shops abandoned buildings—the kinds of places one drives by without noticing. After conducting extensive research, Ruble visits and photographs the sites, translating the photographs into paper collage. About the meaning of rebellion, place, and change, the pieces in this series speak to the ways we remember—and forget—the charged events of our country's history of race relations.
Casey Ruble brings potency to seemingly innocuous subjects and empty fields of color through her tonal subtlety and attention to the intimate details of the scenes she depicts. Quotidien interiors and streets read almost cinematically, producing moments both of tension and of quietness. Her configuration of space through play of detail and absence is reminiscent of the sites she investigates historic places that were once marked by struggle and racial rift but that now live in memories and quiet details.
The gallery's front windows feature Gravity Anomaly, an acrylic and vinyl wall piece that maps a scientific penomenon in which different parts of the earth experience different gravitational force. Areas rendered in warmer hues on the map are under greater gravitaional pull; areas in cooler hues have less. Laid over these contours are the locations depicted in Rubles collages; curiously, these sites of resistance cluster in areas of greater gravitational force.