Ross Brubeck : Earthbound
JANUARY 8TH - 31ST, 2016
Ross Brubeck’s work is curious, cerebral, and repeatedly circles “the idea”, even across a rambling exploratory practice that dips into many different disciplines. “If art is a method we use to reach an unreachable truth,” posits Brubeck, “it would follow that the best we could do at times is create work which surrounds it and shows the shape of the thing, rather than pinning the tail squarely on the donkey.”
SAVERY Gallery is pleased to present dual exhibitions opening in January 2016. In the Main Gallery, Earthbound is an ambitious installation of new sculpture by Ross Brubeck. In Every Direction, new paintings by Ethan Patrick Sherman, will show simultaneously in the Annex space.
Opening Friday, January 8th, 2016, the exhibitions will run through January 31st, 2016 with a reception for the Artists on Friday, January 8th from 6-9 PM.
Ross Brubeck’s work is curious, cerebral, and repeatedly circles “the idea”, even across a rambling exploratory practice that dips into many different disciplines. As a self-described “photographer that sculpts his images” he shifts restlessly across medium and material, see-sawing between two-dimensional plane and three- dimensional space as he pursues the true form of his intentions.
With Earthbound, Brubeck has again found himself at the cusp of another cycle of exploration, but this time has invited us to fall in to it with him. The exhibit is a landscape to be drawn into, populated by a collection of concepts and objects he has architected for the viewer’s entertainment. Working mostly in elemental, organic materials such as wood and stone, he deliberately transforms them with bright, glossy color and strange, whimsical, and witty fabrications which serve to return our focus to his processes and their abstractions rather than their starting point. Repetition of shape, color, form, and symbol becomes the Artist’s own iconography of language and the unifying principle by which the works are assembled. The works are precise and cleanly executed and the collection is an ensemble of bold curves, shiny colors, and thick textures.
Caught between spiritual simplicity and material excess, the Artist is fascinated yet repelled by any and all displays of wealth, even as he struggles against the gravity of moderation and restraint to allow his ideas to evolve and grow. He frequently turns to performance as a means of reconciliation, conceding to his desire for experienced extravagance but with the condition of a distinct time stamp. And, in many cases what becomes most important to Brubeck is not always the piece or the sculpture itself but the documentation of the work after it has been given life: the capture of the ‘best way / the one way / to see them’ that only he can dictate or know.
Brubeck as an artist is wry. The viewer is invited to relax, eat popcorn, and watch as a performer lies facedown beneath the focal piece of the exhibit : a conical pileup of purple aquarium rocks, literally bound to the earth by the weight of the concept.
Overall, Earthbound offers up the view from a certain perspective. “If art is a method we use to reach an unreachable truth,” posits Brubeck, “it would follow that the best we could do at times is create work which surrounds it and shows the shape of the thing, rather than pinning the tail squarely on the donkey.”
In Every Direction
Ethan Patrick Sherman challenges the idea that color pre-exists in our environment as emotive information to be recorded. By teasing apart the relations between ideologies of image-making and the psychological construction of the meanings assigned to them, instead, he asks : what is it exactly that makes us recall a moment, sensation, sight or place?
“[The] notion of color as wavelengths of light - that we have in the light on our hands all possible colors - may not be true if you can call memory into being using a color. We can imagine a person inventing a color, now, seeing it for the first time, and that that new color’s entrance pertains to a new appropriateness in the environment for it to be seen, not a predisposition.”
- Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, in her essay New Form
Sherman’s paintings are ambient and expansive despite their scale. His work is emotional, and pulls depth from extremely subtle interplays among layers of color applied to smoothly burnished surfaces with fine spray. Like a brief glimpse or bright flash that catches one’s attention, his colorscapes seem to be evocative impressions more than direct observations with the potential to carry deep meaning for the viewer.
In his own words : “The idea of the glimpse or a flash that catches your attention. This "glimpse" is something that I have explored through my work for a couple of years whether it is working from abstracted photographs or trying to cull images and colors from my own imagination... Do we remember circumstances through a fixed lens of color? Science has proven that over time our memories change and evolve (essentially everything does whether it is matter or immaterial). But when we have a memory of something, like the reflection of dusk on windows, does our memory conform to natural laws of light or do we see something else? Some different type of color, shade, or form?”
His practice is somewhat counterintuitive, drawing heavily from the disciplines of photography and printmaking which function to freeze a scene and render it easy to recall at a moment’s notice. The image produced through these mediums is definitive, faithfully able to conjure the emotion of the original scene that it records. But Sherman rejects these reminders as the source of the emotion they elicit. For him, light, color, and memory are complexly and reciprocally intertwined, and so memory must in turn be able to produce color.
Ross Brubeck was born in Silver Spring, Maryland in 1986. He is a video artist, photographer, and sculptor, and is self-taught in all three practices. Driven by process, his work is born of minimalist intentions but often grows to a maximalist conclusion. Upon arriving in Philadelphia in 2011, he co-founded the BRENDA collective, a network of artists hosting art and performance in non-traditional and challenging venues. Brubeck’s video and photography work has been featured on Rolling Stone, Spin, and billboard.com, and he exhibits extensively and consistently both as a solo artist and as a participant in group shows. Recent projects include EVENIN, a bound publication of photographs curated and designed with Joel Evey.
Ethan Patrick Sherman was born in Philadelphia in 1990. His time at Rutgers University and the Pont-Aven School of Contemporary Art informed a painting-centric practice that combines the meticulous, process-oriented traditions of printmaking with the spatial relationships of sculpture and photography. After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2012, he relocated to Philadelphia in 2013. Sherman is an active member of Little Berlin, an artist run gallery that curates monthly exhibitions and events in the Kensington neighborhood. Sherman has exhibited at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, PhilaMOCA, and most recently in a solo exhibition at the Vault Project Space at Bridgette Mayer Gallery.