Mary Cady-Rubinstein of Reedsville, Pa., award-winning sculptor, printmaker, innovator, and a fixture in the Central Pennsylvania art community for six decades, has died. She was 94. Her work spanned a variety of mediums and techniques, including wood, stone, and cast sculptures, woodcuts, etchings, lithographs, and drawings. In the most recent portion of her career, she focused on a novel form that transforms woodcut boards into three-dimensional reliefs, brought to life with rich, earthy, yet striking colors. The subject matter of these “boards” is steeped in the beauty and rawness of the Central Pennsylvania landscape, with many images of nature and allegorical scenes reflecting the human condition.
Mary was born in 1927 in Houston, Texas to Mamie and Edwin Cady and graduated from Lamar High School. She earned a B.F.A. from the University of Texas under the tutelage of Charles Umlauf, studied at the Arts Students League in New York City under the mentorship of William Zorach, and completed her formal education with an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa. She settled in Central Pennsylvania with her former husband, S. Leonard Rubinstein, with whom she had three children. She taught classes and workshops at Penn State University and The Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania. She exhibited widely throughout Pennsylvania, with retrospectives at Juniata College in 2011, and, most recently, at the Art Alliance in 2021.
Her process of rigorously researching both techniques and subject matter gave depth and accuracy to her artwork. Her rendering of animal and human bodies reflects an in-depth understanding of anatomy. The armature, clothing, and postures of the figures in her work demonstrate a thorough grasp of the dynamics between humans and their environment. Her illustrations of select scenes in the works of authors such as Franz Kafka, Joseph Conrad, and Jerzy Kozinski are powerful interpretations born of disciplined study. Mary was deeply influenced by her experiences during the Depression, enforcing a strong belief in the responsibility of society to the less privileged. A common theme in her work is finding meaning in the ordinary acts of people, whether it is a man walking on a winter night, a boy practicing archery, or a gathering at a farm show. Mary also had an unwavering respect for nature and, in particular, her beloved dogs, who graced her throughout her life, and the one cat who worked his way in at the end.
Mary is survived by: her children, Joshua Rubinstein and his spouse, Scott Wahlquist, Amanda Rubinstein-Stern and her spouse, Martin Stern, and Zachary Rubinstein and his spouse, Alice Julier; grandchildren, Reuben Stern and his spouse, Shanna Slank, Moriah Stern, Zoe Rubinstein, and Esme Rubinstein; and great grandchildren, Akiva Stern and Efraim Stern.
Note: The memorial service previously scheduled for Mary on Saturday, January 29, 2022, will be rescheduled at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to The Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania through their website at https://artallianceofcentralpa.org/membership/.
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The Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania