Edge

His Own Personal Jesus

Never before have birds, Christ and scrap metal fit together so…complementarily. Rene Strubel, Outsider Artist at Damien B. Contemporary Art Center brings together paintings and sculptures depicting morose scenes of destruction and mayhem and, unlike many of the self-absorbed artists showing in the Design District, Strubel’s work is introspective and real.

The first sculpture to stand out in the gallery, “Le Porteur d’Ailes,” (“The Bearer of Wings” in French), shows a man in sorrow, his face reminiscent of Munch’s “The Scream,” his arms, one of wood and one of metal pieces intricately placed together, his legs bound by twine, and his body leaning, as if giving in.

With the image analogous to The Terminator-esque notion of man versus machine, this bearer represents the struggle to break free of all that binds you and the morbid outcomes of when you just can’t do so. Strubel’s sculptures seem to be mimicking his own outlook on life, a man considered too dark for most art galleries.

On second thought, though, Strubel has nothing to really complain about. He’s a self-taught artist who, as a teenager, ran away to Paris and engulfed himself in the artistic bastion that is the city of lights. One can only believe that he, like any great thinker, had to take a few hits before conjuring up his work. How else does one explain why there are 11 different paintings of a hollow, petrified face and a bird?

Yes, my friends, we have a bird gouging out the eyes of the depressed soul in one painting, a bird pecking at the brain of another in a second painting and, finally, a bird perched above a cloud-engulfed face, as if to look its nose down at the confused visage in a third.

Surely, something’s not right for Strubel. Amidst the scrap metal sculptures wearing away at a fragile existence that seems to withstand the crazy birds doing damage to one’s brain are five different paintings of Christ. But not just any paintings: paintings of a Jesus built out of garden supplies, metal twine and wood.

These Jesus portrayals wear crowns of thorns built of nails and have huge red hearts that scare you into believing that they are actually beating. This is heavy shit.

Oddly enough, though, the pieces all mesh well together. There’s a certain fluidity to Strubel’s choice of elements and symbols in his work and thus a truth (alas, a dark one) emanates from this show as a whole. An existential human suffering lies within us all whether we are aware of it or not. Some are more conscious of this than others, such as Strubel, an outsider artist, whose work here displays something very real to face up to a somewhat plastic city.

Rene Strubel, Outsider Artist is on view at Damien B. Contemporary Art Center, 282 NW 36th St., Miami Design District, through November 25th. Call 305-573-4949 for more info.

Sarah Giusti can be reached at tthinkerr@aol.com

October 28, 2003

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It was a good day for the Miami Hurricanes basketball team. They moved up to No. 6 in the AP Top 25 ...

Erykah Davenport and Shaneese Bailey made key plays back-to-back late in the game and four players s ...

1. MARLINS: Jeter's Fish trade Gordon. Stanton next?: While others spend -- like the Angels to ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Thursday: ▪ With the first ever early signing period just two we ...

University of Miami coach Mark Richt and Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst sat on a stage poolside at the ...

Daniela Deu was drawn to both architecture and urbanism, believes architecture can change communitie ...

Canes Basketball player development assistant will graduate with MSED in Sport Administation. ...

UOnline graduate will earn his M.S. in Health Informatics ...

Seeking a college experience within a diverse community, this graduate found her home away from home ...

Graduating with Comedic Timing ...

Hurricanes earn highest ranking since March 2013. ...

Walker IV recorded a career-high 26 points, seven rebounds in the win over Boston U. ...

The University of Miami women's basketball team earned an impressive 65-54 win over No. 20/23 K ...

Miami senior wide receiver Braxton Berrios, a double major in finance and entrepreneurship, was name ...

After its longest break of the season thus far, the University of Miami women's basketball team ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.