By Kraig Blue
I recently had the pleasure of meeting artist, Jorg R. Dubin, at his Laguna Beach canyon art studio. I could sing accolades to the beauty of his color choice, or I could dazzle you with intellectual art jargon that would confuse the layman and tantalize the informed art patron, but that would do no justice to Dubin or his work. I choose to write about Dubin not only because his art is provocative, but because he is his images.
Pop Culture Paintings & Sculptures
Dubin’s life-size paintings utilize the human figure as an instrument for visual dialogue. In 2010, he exhibited his “Submit; New Paintings” series at the Peter Blake Gallery in Laguna Beach using images of MMA (mixed martial arts) fighters to explore the idea of submission. If the fighters are a personification of overwhelming circumstances, as Dubin says, then the series must represent defeated adversity not just submission.
Dubin’s recent “Corporate Jet Series” at the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco, which closed November 2013, is an example of his sculptural talent. He used fighter jets (87” x 61”) sculpted from sheet metal and painted like notable luxury brands to drive his power-of-the-corporation concept into the stratosphere. These sculptures are a testimony to fearless art making.
MMA paintings and jet sculptures aside, Dubin’s studio should really be visited to view his nudes. With an interpretive portraiture style unique to Dubin, expressive brushstrokes celebrate female complexity and capture undressed humanity.
The way Dubin views his work is sincerely innocent. Some creators lose the curious childlike joy of simply making stuff, but that curiosity drives Dubin: “That’s sort of always been my mantra about being an artist; you just sort of make stuff. You don’t start out trying to make a masterpiece, you just make stuff, no limitations, and you go at it without fear.”
Although Dubin, like any artist, questions what he is doing in an ever-changing commercial landscape of art making and selling, his work stays true to his mantra and he keeps this thought as the cornerstone of his process, leading the viewer to ecstasy. His metaphorical allegories are a feast for active minds and hungry eyes.
Dubin the Person
Dubin has been a resident of Laguna Beach for 37 years. He has created work since his high school teacher introduced him to the craft of ceramics. He learned painting by auditing painting classes with artist Stephen Douglas at Laguna College of Art & Design (LCAD) and in his own words he “de-mystified the process of painting.” Dubin studied with Douglas for two years and after an unfortunate skiing accident, Douglas asked Dubin if he would teach his painting class. Dubin continued to teach at LCAD for four and a half years.
Not only is Dubin a visual artist, but he’s a musician, a drummer to be specific. He plays rock, R&B, blues, Western swing, and for the past eight years jazz with Rusty Gillette (Piano), Frank Schatz (Bass), and sometimes Jack Prather (Bass) in private and public appointments.
Dubin remembers Laguna Beach as an artist colony of the 70s and 80s where young and adventurous artist could come here, express freely, and create in an idyllic seaside town. His future as an artist isn’t etched in stone and he admits with a stoic optimism that it’s sometimes scary. But, like any journeyman worth their stock, Dubin looks toward a colorful horizon.