By: Bella Metts, Contributor
Gerry Wubben finished up his two week artist residence at Furman with a showcase of his works, brief artist talk and reception Oct. 26. Wubben’s work is currently being showcased in the Roe Art Building Art Residence Space as well as the hallways of the Roe Art Building.
Wubben’s collection featured large scale charcoal portraits, Ipad drawings, and isolated still lifes of assorted objects.
Wubben bases his portraits on photographs, 90% of which he takes himself. The other photographs that he uses for reference are taken by a close friend.
Wubben received his MFA in printmaking at Indiana University where he studied engraving. “Through engraving I think that it has given me a sensitive touch for these things [texture in his work]” he says. Wubben believes that this knowledge and experience with texture has made him not only appreciate texture more in his current work, but has also given him the skillset to create the dimension in his work that he aspires for.
Wubben says that the landscape around him was partially the inspiration for the multitude of lines within his drawings. Raised in Grand Junction Colorado, he says that the lines on the faces he draws are inspired by the erosion lines of the desert, these face lines are the lines of the person’s life, his head connected with patterns of fractals. “I feel like I’m drawing a map” says Wubben about drawing the lines of the face in his portraits. A complex notion, but one of intrigue; Wubben connected life to art and art to math during his talk at Furman.
Wubben says that he gains insight from artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas and Michelangelo.
Wubben has often been compared to the work of Chuck Close, another artist who also does large scale charcoal portraits. Unlike Close, Wubben does not use a drawn out grid system and instead does his pieces freehand “inch by square inch.” When asked about the differences between him and Close, Wubben said that he focuses more on the psychological in his pieces; asking himself, “Does it have soul? Does it have charisma?”
Wubben spent his last two weeks working on a piece on Furman’s campus. The piece was a large scale portrait of Paul Porter. At the time of the reception, he had only completed a one eye section of the portrait. “The more I do these things, [large scale portraits] the more demanding they are of me.” he says about only having completed a small section of his portrait for the showcase.
When asked why he makes art Wubben asked in reply “Why not make gorgeous things?”