Joe Brubaker The Long Voyage
Joe Brubaker The Long Voyage
23 Sunnyside Ave. Mill Valley, CA 94941 415.384.8288 seagergray.com
Joe Brubaker: The Long Voyage Exhibition Dates: June 3 - June 29, 2014 Reception for the Artist: Friday, June 13, 6 to 8 pm Front Cover: Joe Brubaker, The Boy in the Golden Boat, mixed media sculpture, 24 x 24 x 10” Back Cover: Joe Brubaker, William, mixed media sculpture, 36 x 36 x 8” Photography Credit: Charles Kennard Direct inquiries to: Seager Gray Gallery 23 Sunnyside Ave. Mill Valley, CA 94941 415.384.8288 email@example.com
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The Boy on the Golden Boat carved painted wood, gold leaf, found materials 30 x 28 x 6â€? 5
William carved painted wood, found materials 35 x 38.5 x 8â€? 6
Joe Brubaker The Long Voyage
Joe Brubaker called his exhibition “The Long Voyage” after he found himself making pieces with a human figure sailing off on boats and didn’t quite know why.
metal that is attached to a tasteful arts and crafts-style house he and his wife, Marka, built high on a hill in San Rafael, overlooking San Pablo Bay.
It was as if he were giving them his blessing as they embarked on their imaginary journeys. It would later come to him in a flash that, subconsciously, he was coming to terms with the realization that his 29-year-old son, Will, who collaborated with him on several of the pieces in this show, was preparing to leave for a new life in Australia with his Chilean wife, who grew up there.
“The Long Voyage” is not a collaboration in the strictest sense, but one of the pieces father and son worked on together is a large bust of an imperious male figure with a noble head carved of avocado wood sitting atop a torso that Will meticulously inlaid with colorful rectangles of gleaming copper and scrap metal. He was christened Hector, for no particular reason, although in Greek legend, Hector was one of the Trojan champions who fought against the Greeks.
“Amid the troubles in Chile at the time, Claudia’s family had decided to move to Australia,” the artist explains. It follows, then, that any parent facing an empty nest could relate to the invitation piece, “The Boy in the Golden Boat,” the work of a father dealing with the imminent departure of his son, his studio helper and protégé. The boy-in-a-boat theme recurs in a Louise Nevelsoninspired wall piece, a cohesive jumble of weathered white wood. It may not be a coincidence that Brubaker named this traveler William. “I realized -- with a start – that this all had to do with Will leaving for Australia, going across an ocean,” he says. “It’s evidence of the idea that art informs the rational mind in a bigger way. And it’s therapeutic.” Brubaker works in a studio packed with found wood and
The most strikingly different and imposing figure we encounter on this journey of discovery is Sigourney, a 50-inch-tall madam in a floor-length gown of rusted metal whose stern visage dares you to make a wrong move as you pass through her space. “She’s a darker piece,” the artist acknowledges, describing her look as “haunted.” “The other characters show a little more vulnerability,” he says. “Tiny adjustments make a big difference in the personality of a piece, but they all have an implied narrator. You bring your own story to them. In that sense, real art never becomes stale. You have a relationship with it. It isn’t mere decoration.”
Timothy carved painted wood, found materials, gold leaf 15 x 7.5 x 3.5â€?
While discussing this show, Brubaker acknowledges one of his seminal influences, the carved santos sculptures of saints he saw in churches as a young man traveling in Mexico. This is reflected in Timothy, a boy in a tall headpiece fashioned from a blackened tin can found in the Mojave Desert. (Many of the characters in “The Long Voyage” wear headpieces of oxidized metal found in the Mojave.) Timothy is gently cradling an egg gleaming with silver leaf that is an actual hatched duck egg that one of the foragers in Brubaker’s art collective, the Exquisite Gardeners, found in the woods. The artist filled it with plaster, coated it with silver-leaf and placed it just so. “Like a gift,” he said. The whole fairytale tableau is inside an old wooden box, a Joseph Cornell-ish touch that Brubaker hasn’t used before. “The box was Will’s idea,” he says. “I was resistant at first until I realized it relates to the santos concept of the contained world.” Brubaker pays homage to Picasso, an early inspiration, with a harlequin figure made of found wood in colors of pale turquoise, flat yellow, strips of red and sky blue. His name is Dimitrius. “Picasso was my first real art crush,” he says with a nostalgic smile. “Somebody gave me that famous black and white photo book of him in his studio that has the picture of him playfully surprising the photographer by jumping out from behind a door with a paper bag mask over his head that he’s drawn on. The fact that this grown man could act like a kid really affected me.”
Dimitrius carved painted wood, acrylic, found materials 40 x 8.5 x 11” 9
Anyone on a fantasy voyage needs something to ride on besides boats, so there are several horses Brubaker created of reclaimed wood. Joe is consciously walking in the footsteps of Deborah Butterfield here, who he is a big fan of. One is a long-legged steed ridden by a jockey-like character named Joseph. It was inspired by a sculpture from Lombok, an island off the coast of Bali, of a man on a horse. The sculpture is in the artist’s personal collection. “In Bali, when people die, they carve these,” he says. “It represents the horse carrying the person’s spirit into the next world.” For the past two decades, the ringmaster has been a recurring character in Brubaker’s work. In this show, he is played by Marco, a bust of a shifty-eyed fellow in a stovepipe hat. “He’s a Svengali,” Brubaker says. “He’s the guy who comes alive at the gallery at night when nobody’s around and starts directing all the other characters.” For a standing everyman named Benjamin, dressed in a red shirt and black trousers the artist brushed on using velvety milk paint, Brubaker repurposed a distressed green cabinet door as the wall piece’s backdrop. “My work toes the line between folk art and a more classically-carved naturalistic style,” he explains. “It’s not as funky as folk art but not as anatomically accurate as classical figures. I like to go back and forth between the two. With his elongated arms and more primitive face, this guy veers toward folk art.”
Joseph carved painted wood, found materials 58 x 24 x 7” 10
On this voyage, we meet a number of fantasy figures the artist describes as “exotics and other world characters from my Somnambulist tribe.” In their tribal hats and rusted regalia, they look as if they could have stepped out of an episode of “Game of Thrones.” One of them wears headgear made of galvanized pipe with a palimpsest of the name of the company that made it shining through the patinas of rust and time. That pipe, as well as a copper fishing net float the artist incorporated into a piece called “Pablo’s World,” and almost all the found material in this show was collected by Jeff Hvid, a member of the Exquisite Gardeners that Brubaker has dubbed “the Thoreau of Marin County.” “Jeff has been cleaning up the shores, rivers and seasides of the North Bay for 30 years,” he says. “Pretty much all this wood was collected from the North Bay. Will arranged it in the studio by colors.” As Will departs for the Land Down Under, he takes with him wood carving skills learned at the foot of a father who holds a masters of fine arts degree from UCLA and has taught and lectured there, the Academy of Art in San Francisco, American River College and San Francisco and Long Beach state universities. One piece in this show, Renaldo, a noble-looking bust with an elegant glow of gold leaf and flashes of bluish turquoise, “is all Will,” Brubaker says proudly, pointing out the difference in style between father and son. “He has his own look,” he says. “It’s not what I would do. I would never use that color palette, for example, but it turned out so great. He has a different consciousness. It’s cool.”
Marco carved painted wood 21 x 8 x 5” 11
Mauricio carved painted wood, found materials 54 x 11 x 13â€?
Andrew carved painted wood, found materials 29.5 x 9 x 6â€?
Helen carved painted wood 18 x 12 x 5â€?
Joe and Will Brubaker Hector carved painted wood, metal, found materials 29 x 32 x 10â€? 15
Cornelius carved painted wood, found materials 47 x 6 x 5.5â€?
Bradford carved painted wood, found materials 50.5 x 9 x 18.5â€?
Jack carved painted wood, gold leaf, found materials 16 x 29 x 8.5â€?
Sigourney carved painted wood, found materials 48 x 22 x 11â€?
Joan carved painted wood, found materials 9.5 x 5.5 x 5â€?
John David carved painted wood, gold leaf, found materials 11 x 22 x 5â€?
Green Horse II found materials 25 x 28 x 10â€? 22
Peter carved painted wood, gold leaf, found materials 15.5 x 7.5 x 3.75â€?
Nigel carved painted wood 12 x 9.5 x 4.25â€?
Colin carved painted wood, found materials 7 x 5 x 2â€?
Paul (left) carved painted wood, metal found materials 6.25 x 5.5 x 2.25â€?
Thomas (right) carved painted wood, found materials 26.5 x 24 x 5â€?
White Horse painted wood, found materials 28.5 x 31 x 14â€?
Pablo’s World carved painted wood, found materials 40 x 46 x 9” 29
Paulo (left) carved painted wood, metal, found materials 17.5 x 9 x 11â€?
Benjamin (right) carved painted wood, found materials 25 x 20 x 14â€?
Mario carved painted wood, gold leaf, found materials 13 x 11.5 x 5.5â€?
Will Brubaker, Renaldo carved painted wood, gold leaf, found materials 18 x 16 x 5â€?
Joe Brubaker Education BFA Sacramento State University 1976
2006 - Inaugural Exhibition, Donna Seager Gallery, San Rafael CA
MFA : UCLA 1980
2005 - M.A.C. Exhibit, Marin Civic Center, San Rafael CA 2003 - M.A.C. Exhibit, Marin Civic Center, San Rafael CA
2003 - “Mind Over Metal”, Art Works Downtown, San Rafael CA
2014 - Seager Gray Gallery, The Long Voyage, Mill Valley, CA
1998 - Biennial Crocker-Kingsley Exhibition, Crocker Museum,
1998 - Grantees Awards Exhibition, Marin Arts Council, Falkirk
2012 - Seager Gray Gallery, Everyday Saints, Mill Valley, CA. 2009 -Sue Greenwood Fine Arts, Laguna Beach, CA
1998 - “Outside in, Inside out”, Marin Civic Center, San Rafael CA
2009- Palo Alto Art Center, Retrospective Exhibition, Palo Alto, CA 2008- Sue
1998 - “In Human Form”, Maude Kerns Art Center, Eugene Oregon 1997 - Marin Arts Council Members show, Corte Madera CA
Greenwood Fine Arts Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA 2008- Donna Seager Gallery,San Rafael, CA
1997 - Annual jury show, Fairfield Arts Center, Fairfield CA
2007 - Sue Greenwood Fine Arts Gallery, Laguna Beach CA 2007 - Donna
1997 - “Small Works” show, Susan Cummins Gallery, Mill Valley CA 1997 “Introductions” show, Susan Cummins Gallery, Mill Valley CA 1996 -
Seager Gallery, San Rafael CA
Marin Arts Council Members show, Corte Madera CA
2006 - Grover-Thurston Gallery, Seattle WA
1996 - “3 Artists” Vallejo Arts Center, Vallejo CA
2005 - Greenwood-Chebithes Gallery, Laguna Beach CA Beth Urdang Gallery, Boston MA
Center, San Rafael CA
2010 - Sue Greenwood Fine Arts, Laguna Beach, CA.
2006 - Sue Greenwood Fine Arts Gallery, Laguna Beach CA 2005 -
2012 - Sue Greenwood Fine Arts, Laguna Beach, CA
1995 - Marin Arts Council Members show, Corte Madera CA 1995 - Italian Street Painting Festival, San Rafael CA
2004 - Greenwood-Chebithes Gallery, Laguna Beach CA
1995 - Group show, Coffee Roastery, San Anselmo CA
2003 - Greenwood-Chebithes Gallery, Laguna Beach CA
1995 - Annual jury show, Gallery 825, Los Angeles CA
2002 - Grover-Thurston Gallery, Seattle WA
1995 - “Seen/Unseen” juried show, University of New Mexico
2002 - Allene Lapides Gallery, Santa Fe NM
1995 - “Masks” Marin Shakespeare Company, San Rafael CA
2001 - Susan Cummins Gallery, Mill Valley CA
1995 - “All Saints All Souls” show, Falkirk Center, San Rafael CA 1994 - Marin
2000 - Grover-Thurston Gallery, Seattle WA
Arts Council Members show, Corte Madera CA
1999 - Susan Cummins Gallery, Mill Valley CA
1978 - Group show, Wight Gallery, U.C.L.A., Los Angeles CA
1998 - Marin Open Studios, San Anselmo CA
1975 - Group show, Sacramento State, Sacramento CA
1997 - Susan Cummins Gallery, Mill Valley CA 1997 - Marin Open Studios, San Anselmo CA
Exquisite Garden Collabor ative Installations:
1996 - Marin Open Studios, San Anselmo CA
Joe Brubaker has assembled a team of collaborators who go into museum
1995 - Marin Open Studios, San Anselmo CA
and art center spaces with a load of found and assembled materials and
1995 - Academy of Art Bush St. Gallery, San Francisco CA
transform the space together using what they have brought. The results
1980 - U.C.L.A. Museum of Cultural History, Los Angeles CA
have received critical attention and are both performance and installation art,
1976 - Upstairs Gallery, Sacramento CA
allowing the public to see the collaborative and creative process. See it at the SF Museum of Craft and Design, June 28 - September 21, 2014.
2014 - Museum of Craft and Design, San Francisco, CA
2014 - artMRKT, Seager Gray Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2013 - The Nest Project, 55 Linden, Oakland CA
2013 - Context Art Miami, Seager Gray Gallery
2012- Cannon Art Center, Carlsbad, CA.
2012 – Sue Greenwood, Joe Brubaker, Maurice Gray, Chris Gwaltney
2011- Campovida, Outdoor Installation,Hopland,CA.
2012 – Seager Gray Gallery, Summer Salon: Materials, Mill Valley, CA
2010 -Bakersfield Museum of Art, Bakersfield, CA.
Published on Jun 2, 2014
Full color catalog of Joe Brubaker's exhibition of wood sculpture at Seager Gray Gallery in June, 2014. Essay by Paul Liberatore