October 5, 2023
Reuben Margolin creating a kinetic sculpture in his studio

Reuben Margolin, born in 1970, is one of the foremost kinetic sculptors of our age, creating masterpieces that blend the grace of nature with the precision of mathematics. Growing up in Berkeley, California, he was always surrounded by the influence of creativity, given that both of his parents were artists. He graduated from Harvard University with a degree in English after exploring various fields of study from math to anthropology, embodying his insatiable curiosity for knowledge and broad interests.

A Unique Intersection: Mathematics, Nature, and Art

The allure of Margolin’s work lies in its unique intersection of mathematics, nature, and art. His kinetic sculptures are elaborate mechanical attempts to evoke the natural world, combining sensuous natural movements with precise mathematical engineering. Each sculpture is a testament to Margolin’s love for mathematics, crafting, and the beauty of nature, a love that he has dedicated his life to expressing through his artworks.

The Creation Process: Embracing Uncertainty and Change

Working from his shop in Emeryville, California, Margolin’s creative process embraces change and uncertainty. His sculptures, though continuously evolving, always maintain their underlying mathematical pattern. This mirroring of life’s constant change within a stable structure forms a cornerstone of his artistic philosophy.

Margolin’s creative approach continues to evolve and refine with each new project. Often, the most intriguing part of his process is not having a clear solution for every aspect of the sculpture he’s envisioning. The challenge of figuring out how to bring his dream to life is part of what makes the process so enjoyable.

The Joy of Material: A Case for Cherry Wood

Interestingly, Margolin’s inspiration sometimes comes from the most mundane aspects. At times, he finds himself longing to work with specific materials, like cherry wood. Its warm color, soft texture, and pleasant smell make the creative process even more enjoyable for him.

The Final Reveal: A Moment of Pure Excitement

The most exhilarating moment in Margolin’s creation process comes when every piece of the sculpture is in place, and the only thing left to do is turn it on. It’s a moment of pure suspense and excitement when the sculpture comes alive, exhibiting its movements for the first time. Sometimes the result is a pleasant surprise, and other times it’s back to the drawing board to figure out what didn’t work as expected.

Reuben Margolin’s Masterpieces: The Nebula and The Double Raindrop

Margolin’s portfolio boasts an array of intricate kinetic sculptures displayed worldwide. The Nebula, an artwork featuring 4,500 amber crystals, graces the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas. His works have also found homes at the Museum of Science in Boston, the Belasting & Douane Museum in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock, Arkansas, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

The Double Raindrop, another of Margolin’s creations, was initially met with dissatisfaction. The sculpture did not match his expectations, leading to an initial impulse to discard it. However, with time, his perspective changed, and the piece grew on him, eventually becoming one of his favorites.

The Creative Freedom of Reuben Margolin

Margolin’s relaxed demeanor is surprising given the precision his art demands. His ability to remain calm and adaptable was nurtured by his parents, who instilled in him the value of a creative life. They taught him that being able to create something beautiful was the ultimate achievement.

Even today, Margolin continues to create works just for the joy of it. One of his most ambitious projects, The Dandelion Wave, took a year and a half to complete. Even though he did not know where it would ultimately be displayed, Margolin enjoyed the freedom to create something purely for the fun of it.

In conclusion, Reuben Margolin is a testament to the beauty that can be achieved when art, nature, and mathematics intersect. His work continues to captivate audiences worldwide, a beautiful blend of mathematical precision and the fluidity of natural movement, all born from the hands of a man who loves to create.

Reuben Margolin

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Via: Articulate


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