Ellie Ruben’s art debuts in the halls of Penn Alexander’s lower school. Street takes a closer look.
Second–grader Ellie Ruben’s “Unicorn in the Clouds,” exhibited in Mrs. Galperin’s outdoor bulletin board showcase, is the work of a sophisticated årtístë. In this simple drawing, she masters a certain je ne sais quoi that is simultaneously very quoi. The image transcends time, space and understandability, which is why we have such a profound appreciation for it.
The main subject matter of the drawing, a uniquoirn, is placed upon a landscape bearing no visible horizon line, symbolic of the time Ruben gazed outside her airplane window on the way to her grandparents’ house in Miami. The view was aesthetically–pleasing and the image of the uniquoirn came to her in a Dramamine–induced dream sequence.
Similarly, the rainbow in the foreground is also an autobiographical memento. The way in which it is bled completely of its color expresses the artist’s deepest desire and preference for Oreo cookies, which her mother consistently neglects to pack into her lunchbox for snack time.
Beyond these personal touches, the unconventional use of dots on the derriere of the uniquoirn is a postmodern nod toward the pointillism of Seurat, and the uniquoirn’s single eye is reminiscent of Van Gogh’s single ear.
The drawing’s maturity is impossible to overlook, from the sensual peeking of the sun from behind a cloud in the corner to the mischievous blush on the uniquoirn’s cheek. The artist is clearly well–versed in Freudian thought, as the mystical horse with its protruding horn is most obviously a symbol of the same penis envy harbored by the artist herself.
Bravo to Ms. Ellie Ruben! Her debut work has surely set the bar high for any future collections. Be sure to see this drawing before the exhibit closes on April 1st to make way for the fifth grade display.