3D Neonscapes by Russ RuBert

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Don’t know why I like these two photos so much. Maybe it’s a little neon yin and yang? Maybe it’s because I just learned that the grill-shapes came from the eyes of Griff’s hamburger guy, who had eyes with hamburger grills in the middle.

Russ has rescued a lot of vintage neon over the years, from old restaurants going out of business or getting demolished. He stores it all, then when an opportunity like the Spiva Center for the Art’s Brave New Art Show comes up, he makes new creations from the old glass neon tubes.

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The old stuff is incredibly fragile. If you handle it carelessly, it may crack, or one of the glass nipples where the glass-blower ended the tube is bumped, the tip can be broken. If any of these things happens, the gas inside will leak out, and it will never again work as a colored light.

Also there are little wires on each end, embedded in the glass. If these break off or are cut too short, there is no way to hook the electricity to the tube — which is what excites the gas and makes the light. I know this stuff, not because I do any of the technical or design stuff, but because I help hold and move the glass!

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Like much of Russ’s other art, these pieces are interactive. The glass is all hooked up to motion sensors, and as people move around each piece, the colored light goes on and off — illuminating the room and metal in different vivid colors.

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For more photos of the neon, you can visit Russ’s porfolio here. Probably I’m trying to do too much right now, but also trying to edit some video of the installation since it is very three-dimensional and four-dimensional as the different pieces light on and off.

Have Extension Cord, will travel

bench_desk.jpg Welcome to my temporary office. Please have a seat, if you don’t mind a small child-sized chair.

I have to admit that I travel with ridiculous amounts of gadgets and electronics. But the most important thing I’ve learned is to also bring an extension cord.

It’s much more fun to work in galleries than hotels. Give me some gallery space, and I’ll usually just slowly take over whatever is open. The gallery where Russ was installing his 3D Neonscapes was especially nice because they had pocket doors in the walls that could be opened to create a window view of the outside. Gotta remember that feng shui even if it’s only for a day!

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While it can be difficult to find an empty table, I can usually find a bench to work at. I don’t mind working on benches since I’m happy being low to the ground. But the cooler was hard and cold to sit on, so since we were driving home every night, I brought these toddler-sized chairs from the studio so I could sit in style.

I got them at a church basement yard sale for cheap — and they’ve been wonderful. Strong, sturdy, better than a step stool for reaching the top of my design wall, and good for company when the company is pint-sized. So if you ever see anything like this at a garage sale, snatch them up quick!

What was I working on? Downloading and editing photos, posting them on websites, writing press releases. Got a lot of work done and what’s best, out of my normal box and surrounded by creative and energetic people has gotten my brain whirring. The opening reception was really good, will try to post some more photos tomorrow.

Installation of my show at William Woods University

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Here I am with my installation pants on — one side pocket holds my spy camera and the other my phone. Although I was dressed for it, I didn’t really do much of the work because I had so much help! And the good photos were taken by Russ. (Photo by Russ RuBert of course.)

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The last few days have seemed like, a fast-moving blur! I didn’t have a lot of notice for this show because of a schedule mix-up last November. But seeing as it was my alma mater, I was excited to hustle up what work I could (end count – 30 quilts, 7 drawings.) Actually, I was an English communications major at this school, but my art classes and art profs made a much more lasting impression on my life.

This art center and beautiful gallery didn’t exist when I was a student — our old art building burned down (I had nothing to do with that!) So I wasn’t really sure what that the new gallery looked like in real life. When we first walked in, the bottom dropped out of my stomach. The gallery looked huge, and I thought, there’s no way I was going to be able to fill the space. But soon it became apparent, that actually we needed more walls. Well…..like magic, walls appeared.

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Although the show still has to be lit properly before it opens tomorrow, I wanted to show you these cool sliding panels that come out of a closet and move on tracks built in the ceiling. Once you arrange the sections or walls that you like, you anchor them to the floor, and just hammer nails though the neutral-colored carpet covering the walls. Easy to hang stuff! The hard part is deciding where to hang it.

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But here’s the one who deserves the real credit — my own Superman! He’s the guy who is always working quietly behind the scenes – organizing space and structure, amazing with tools, and making everything I do work and look better! It sure is nice being married to a sculptor.

We also had a wonderful helpful crew from the gallery. Vikky, the director brought in her whole family and Amanda, the student assistant was a better worker than me. Okay, now it’s time to go home and crash.

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(for some more photos and explanation of how we setup the exhibition, go to my Facebook album here.)

You can see this show February 2-27, 2009
New Time: Artist talk and reception, Thursday, February 26, 2-4 p.m.

Mildred M. Cox Gallery
William Woods University
One University Avenue
Fulton, MO

9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday – Friday
1-4 p.m. Saturday – Sunday.
Admission is free and open to the public.
For more information
call (573) 592-4245

ThreadLines 2008 and other opening nights

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ThreadLines opening last week was a huge success. The gallery was packed all night long, and the show looks amazing thanks to MSU Art & Design Gallery director Robin Lowe and her staff and of course all the wonderful artists who made and shipped their work. Jason Pollen was there to judge the quilts in person, to award the prizes and to honor us with a exhibition of his recent work.

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Here Jason Pollen is talking about the Best of Show by Deidre Adams, as Arleta Johnson, our prize chairman (very important person!) looks on. Told you you should have come to the opening, Deidre! Of course we didn’t know until 5 p.m. that night that she was a winner. Here’s a post about the rest of the award ceremony.

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Several artists traveled to the opening, but the prize for farthest goes to Barbara Winoski from Canada. Here she is on the left, discussing her quilt with my friend Sue, who happens to be a seamstress but not quilter.

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The Creamery Art Center usually doesn’t get as much traffic on First Friday Art Walk since it’s off the path. But here I’m giving an artist talk right after Emmie and Lettie gave theirs in the Creamery art library. You can just barely see my new quilts from the Wish You Were Hair series through the windows to the exhibition space. All together, I have 20 quilts on display and 11 framed drawings and mixed media collages.

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And this is one goofy grin I just couldn’t wipe off my face at the end of the night after surviving a month I thought I wouldn’t survive. Remind me never to schedule two show openings including visiting artists for a two-day workshop on the same weekend as Quilt National deadline ever again. Thanks for the photo Russ — it really sums it all up!

Hanging a Solo Gallery Show

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Last night as I was packing up quilts for my upcoming solo show at the Driskill Gallery, I was thinking one is easy to roll up and ship to a show, but sixteen is a lot to handle. Then I got to the gallery this morning, and I remembered why I started making art quilts in the first place. Not many other art forms can fill a whole gallery with just a couple of funny-looking burritos.

They look small in the gallery space, but wait — they are amazing exploding burritos! And out pop all the quilts, much to gallery director Dianna Callahan’s amusement…

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