Joe Brubaker at Seager Gray“Being There,” a new exhibit by Marin sculptor Joe Brubaker featuring an enchanting cast of the artist’s famously whimsical, otherwordly and yet universally human characters, opens Sept. 1 and runs through Oct. 1 at the Seager Gray Gallery in Mill Valley, 108 Throckmorton Ave. 

Since his 1997 exhibition at Susan Cummins’ Mill Valley gallery, Brubaker sculptures have been populating collections from coast to coast. He has enjoyed an enviable exhibition history and remains ever fascinated with the creative process. As he amasses the weathered wood and rusted remnants of earlier lives, the figures begin to suggest themselves as Brubaker skillfully facilitates their rebirth, borrowing from a host of influences from Spanish Colonial retablos and santos, to African and Balinese sculpture and modern and contemporary artists such as Picasso, Louise Nevelson and Deborah Butterfield.

Incorporating wood, scraps of metal and found materials, Brubaker, like a cosmic puppet master,  breathes life into magical figures with stories, personalities and names that are all their own.

“I imagine myself as channeling some soul that’s out there and wants to come back,” he says. “It’s really an eerie moment, a Geppetto moment.”A reception for the artist will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday Sept. 9. 


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