Many works in the exhibition “Traveling” by Yvette Drury Dubinsky include several paintings on handmade paper and repurposed medicine and art supply boxes—are small and portable, made between 2022 and 2023 at a point during and after the pandemic when travel to visit family became possible once again. Other works memorialize the rapid changes and prolonged grief of the last several years, layering words that became newly charged—sourdough and shelter—with the names of those who succumbed to the virus in the early stages of the pandemic. Meditating on change, “Traveling” is evidence of the inevitable interplay between an artist’s solitary workings in the studio and those of a turmoiled outside world.

While serious in subject matter, Dubinsky’s work is also intuitive and playful—a metaphor for a multifaceted life. The medicine boxes, for example, while chosen for their idiosyncratic shapes when deconstructed and made supports for painting, are also a byproduct of the increased use of over-the-counter medications by an aging artist. On these informal surfaces, Dubinsky layers wildly colorful and sometimes repellant mixes of gesso, ink, pencil, crayon, and gouache, employing an experimental blend of painting, printmaking, and collaging techniques.

The largest and work in this exhibition, a monotype titled “Anguish” (2022), and the latest works, “Long Way” and “In Transit” were begun to augment a series of smaller individual works already in progress when Ukraine was invaded by Russia in February 2022 and left much of the world stunned, horrified, and immobilized. Working in her studio as the violence in Eastern Europe escalated, Dubinsky found herself assembling several new works in reaction to the conflict and thinking of her mother.

A century ago, as a child, Dubinsky’s mother fled war just north of what is now Ukraine, trapped for a time in the basement of an occupied house. Dubinsky recalls that her mother never fully processed the exodus or talked about her childhood, spending her later life traumatized by the violence and uprooting she had experienced. Today, working in her studio and following the news, Dubinsky feels, as she did in her youth, both captivated and powerless to ease the trauma she witnessed firsthand.

Yvette Drury Dubinsky, based in St. Louis, MO; Truro, MA; and New York, NY, earned her M.F.A. from the Sam Fox School at Washington University in St. Louis.