Post-Truth: Rowena Rubio (MFA Photo ’17)

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Originally from the Philippines and an alumni from Fordham University with a BA in Art History; Rowena Rubio’s work consists mainly of interactive boxes that represent controlled environments. The interior’s dark, confined space allows me to manipulate light, reflections, its contents and the entry point of the viewer. Thanks to an intricate merging of interlocking elements, the box is not easily deconstructed and represents the complexity of a perfectly calculated life confined within impermanent walls. This artwork comes to illustrate that digital technology is destined to change the way we create and think about photography.

What is the concept behind your thesis?

RR: The concept behind my thesis originally started 6 or 7 years ago after I graduated from Fordham and its about abuse; family abuse, relationships because I was in that situation so originally I started doing self portraits. One day Louise Bourgeois did a retrospective at the Guggenheim and I originally was not a fan of hers but I went to her retrospective and I fell in love with installation and sculpture. I started looking into her background and found she had a similar background to me. She grew up with a father that was a womanizer, her father had an affair with their nanny and even though she was not abused physically the emotional abuse was still there. One of her works is called the Cells, most of the content of these cells are scenes from her childhood and I was very inspired by that. When I came to Parsons I felt encouraged to explore outside of photography so I decided to explore with creating boxes. I 3D print these boxes to house dioramas I create of my childhood inside of these little boxes and light them a certain way then I seal them. Creating a piece that you have to see in person invites participation from the audience and the only way to see these scenes in the box is through a little peep hole so it’s not something would experience the same online or in a photograph.

What are some of your inspiration sources and how does this relate to your production processes?

RR: I’m very interested in technology and one of my inspirations in regards to that is Ray Caesar. I remember seeing his work and finding out that he used digital painting in a 3D software to create his paintings. I followed him ever since because I love digital work and when you see it in person it looks so much like an actual painting which goes back to the experience of seeing a work in person. From there I began to experiment with 3D printing and I bought an at home 3D printer to start making designs from Blender. I started out small but now I’ve been creating the boxes for my thesis. There is so much you can do with 3D printing and it’s very exciting to to work with because I am able to use technology while also constructing things myself.





POST-TRUTH is on view at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons School of Design from August 10 – September 6, 2017. The Opening Reception will be on August 24, 6PM-8PM. Michael DiFeo, Arash Fewzee, Annaleena Keso, Charles Park, Christian Padron, Sebastian Perinotti, Rowena Rubio, Abhishek Sharma, Sarah Wang, Jinming Zhong, and Mengting Zhou (Matilda).

For more information about the thesis exhibition, please visit


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