BRIAN HUBBLE STUDIO VISIT
March 30th, 2015
Brian Hubble's current body of work is something quite magnificent, as an artist and an art handler many of his sculptures pay homage to the often over-looked art handling practice. However, Brian elevates the signs and symbols synonymous with art handling to something much more permanent. Take a peep at his Greenpointe studio and find out more about his practice.
1. What recurring motifs are you exploring in your work?
I seem to have a continual preoccupation with ideas and objects that oscillate between the arbitrary and the official. I'm interested in how context is perceived, its relation to my means of production, and the space where exchange and aesthetic values cross.
2. Can you talk to us about how the marble art shipping crates came about?
The crates started as a joke when I was working as a trucker a few years ago. My co-workers and I were standing on a dock preparing to load several crated artworks, and I mentioned someone needed to make a crate from marble as the artwork. They all laughed, which made me think I had an idea worth exploring. Those guys became the original audience for these works. I made the first one almost on a dare. Marble is an expensive medium to work in!
3. How do you see the shipping crates evolving/what do they represent to you?
My mind is constantly changing about the sculptures. Having worked as an art handler, you couldn't be closer to, or further away from the art world simultaneously. So, it does something funny to space. Also, crates are functional objects that essentially protect non-functional objects. Taking them from a place that is behind the scenes, rendering them in marble, and then bringing them into a space of exhibition suggests a canceling-itself-out kind of quality. Coming to the work with a bit of alchemic humor is a good entry point, and take it from there.
4. Marble and graphite seem to be the predominant mediums that you are working with, what is the appeal of both of these?
In my experience, at least in the U.S., viewers look for a kind of thread that links one work, or body of work, to another. I'm interested in breaking connections. There's a pretty big gap between the accessibility of graphite and the inaccessibility of marble, leaving a lot of wiggle room to play. At the same time, they can make an aesthetic claim when posed together. I also like how they both come with an attached history.
5. The electric chair is a theme that you have explored in your work, it can be said that your art crate pieces reference mausoleums and or headstones. Where does the fascination with death or objects related to death come from?
A friend came by my studio the other day and said, "man, the crates look like tombs--funny and grim." It was so obvious, but I never saw them that way! The electric chairs are posed together to suggest a love seat. This is also reflected in the title (Electric Love Seat, or the Love Destroyer). I don't know if I was thinking about death so much as I was trying to imagine the most romantic thing possible. There was a caustic but playful touch of anarchy I enjoyed about the idea.
I also remember as a kid in the south seeing on the news that another inmate was headed to the chair that night. It always bothered me. It's true that the house lights flicker when they hit the switch.
6. Your flags/prints with psychedelic colors are an ode to a trip you took with a friend to the Painted Desert in Arizona, what do the verbiage and colors used on the flags/prints represent in context to the experience?
I suppose the motivation for these works was to "improve upon nature". My friend and I were super excited to see the Painted Desert, but were disappointed once we drove through. The joke became that we could have painted it better. So, I made a few simple color adjustments, further playing with the word "painted". They started as photographs, and evolved into inkjet paintings. When people think of art, they tend to think of landscape paintings. I was drawn to this simple idea. The text came much later.
7. Can you talk to us about the new direction of your work in marble with these kinds of primitive type markings and scratches? What are these pieces referencing?
They stem from natural progression while in the studio. The automatic drawing/markings and marble were bound to bump against each other.
8. In terms of future plans, what is on the horizon?
I'll do a solo exhibition and simultaneous fair with Less is More Projects in Paris. I've also hooked up with the guys at C-Print Journal who are curating a show at Kamarade in Stockholm. I believe both are happening in the fall.