The ex-voto (the fulfilment of a vow) is a recurring theme in Gino Rubert’s work, especially in his more personal and intimate sketchbooks. In conventional religious terms, an ex-voto is a votive offering to a saint or a divinity, and can take a wide variety of forms. They are not only intended for the helping figure, but also as a testimony to later visitors of the received help. As such they may include texts explaining a miracle attributed to the helper, or symbols such as a painted or modelled reproduction of a miraculously healed body part, or a directly related item such as a crutch belonging to a person who was formerly lame.
In this series of drawings and paintings, all given the title ‘Ex-voto’ by Rubert, the idea of fulfilment is typically taken to every extreme imaginable. Given his Catholic upbringing, it is not surprising that many of the images include crucifixes, rosaries and priests, though sometimes the ‘fulfilment’ is much simpler sexual gratification.
In most of these images Rubert includes text as well as image, and it helps to understand the Spanish, though sometimes he helps English-speakers with smile-inducing captions like ‘Thanks Holy God for being wet’n’slow when u could’ve been quick’n’dry’.