Jack Rutberg - Jordy Alcaraz
The final show at the Jack Rutberg show was a fitting finale to a gallery that has exemplified the best of the Los Angeles art scene since it opened its doors thirty seven years ago. We are so excited to see what the maestro Jack Rutberg shall do next. For as long as the gallery has been in existence, Jack and his partner Mary Lou have offered L.A. residents museum-quality shows with deep sensitivity, an unerring commitment to detail and a rare depth of intelligence.
Jack only represents work that makes him sleepless at night. Literally, this was the case when he first saw the work of Jordi Alcaraz. Jack lay awake wondering if it was a gimmick. It could have been. Except he went back and bought everything Jordi had to sell. Alcaraz offers us alchemy. In the most basic sense, the viewer wonders how does he do it? You can spend hours thinking about it and the more you look at it, the less you understand. How did he achieve his ripped, broken, and cut glass pieces, or those gently blown contusions captured within a frame, inside a glass box, with a saddle-stitched blank book, and pooling ink? What exactly is the viewer looking at? What does it all mean?
The meanings are endless. Is it culture disappearing or being formed? Is it loss? Is it birth of the written word? Is it the beginning or the end? His work is everything you bring to it and it confuses the mind. And as Jack points out. Give it silence and it will reward you. Jack uses the analogy of a plane ride to explain what's happening when you really look at this work. The shoreline is receding but you see a straight line as the aeroplane moves away at great speed. Yet you know the shoreline is not linear even though it appears so. When you really start thinking about it, it messes with your mind. These works are quietly savage.
It was once said, "If an artist doesn't like you, he'll tell you what his painting means." This seems apt for the wonderful work of Alcaraz. But it's also why a walk with Jack through the work is such a treat, because Jack will give you guidance through the fog of your thoughts. He brings you the context and history that makes the experience so much richer. And it is only in the hands of a real expert, someone who genuinely is excited by the creative process and understands the power of mark making, do you feel that you are being taken deeper into the work while not once being told what to think. It's the best kind of seduction.
The Jack Rutberg Fine Arts Gallery on La Brea, in Los Angeles will be deeply missed. The gallery was a good friend to The Laboratory Arts Collective and we look forward to cooking up some mischief in their next chapter.