Derek Weisberg, In Color and In Focus

 Derek Weisberg has been a pillar of my sense of the Oakland Art scene, whatever that may be, for the past five years. Next month I am proud to feature him for the first time in a Swee(t)art show. Five Points, the Trophy Room, June 3rd. I have been a huge fan of his work for a long time. It was his opening at Rowan Morrison last year that inspired me to start the 40th Street Art Quest. Everybody better recognize Boontling Gallery, of which Derek was a founder. He now lives back on Telegraph with his talented (jewelry/metal artist) and charming girlfriend Alana Douvros. I stopped by the other day and was totally impressed with what he has in store for the San Francisco show next month.

Obi: What have you been recently working on Derek? What have you got coming up this year?

Derek: Well, I have been working on a bunch of things.  I had a very busy 2009 in terms of showing and obligations outside of the studio, so this year I was selective about what I got involved with.  I decided that I wanted to spend most of my time and energy investigating my work.  It has been nice, I have had time to play with color and 2-D works, drawing, painting (which I was never instructed in even 4 years of art school,pathetic)  but ultimately and mostly still making sculpture.

This year I have a few things coming up,  First I will be in the show you curated Trophy Room,  June 3rd at Five points art house in SF (click here to link to Five Points announcement)  I will have one piece and it will be a trophy for sure, over 8 feet tall,  composed of 14 intertwined figures.  Definitely the most epic and involved piece I have ever made, a piece to see for sure! Also I will be doing a solo show at the gallery at the Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter.  They will produce a catalogue and it will be up during Miami Art Basel  so I am excited about that.  Details to come.     

Obi: How are you liking your new space? is it wierd being back on Telegraph? How has your relationship with the Oakland art world changed?

Derek: My new space is rad.  It is a funky space but we have made it home for sure.  Studio upstairs, nice natural light,  garden in the back, it is more private,  it is good.  And I love the Temescal neighborhood and love being back here!

 My relationship with the Oakland art world has changed only a little as far as I can tell.   While running Boontling I was maybe more of a public figure, I was much more actively  involved, putting on monthly shows and all that comes with that,  and going to meetings and such.  But I still do some of that now.  I still go to Art Murmur and other Oakland openings and shows.  I continually try to engage with other artists and friends.  I am now curating a little project window space, called Wes Smoot Annex on Telegraph and 43rd.  It is a super low key project and more for fun and interacting with other artists and trying to offer them an opportunity that they may not normal get or normally do. But I would say I am more focused on making my work right now then anything else.

Obi: What is going on with the figures? Are they individuals? They seem detailed with mundane, as oppose to ideal, characteristics…moustaches and personality and such.

Derek:  The figures are the same as always kind of.  At least they have similarities in my mind.  It is true They are taking on more individual physical characteristics.  For a while, the last several years I was very interested in depicting figures which represented the everyday man, or humans and humanity in general, aiming to achieve a universal quality.  So the figures all had similar physical traits and may have all seemed like the same figure.  I am still trying to carry that content through these new figures.  I hope that even though now they have hair or beards and more of a sense of time and place, that they have the same universal qualities in terms of emotions, gestures, psychology, etc.  I want them to have the same immediacy and accessibilty, melancholy and hope, sensitivity and reflection; they just have hair now.  And I don’t think that my figures were ever and ever will be ideal figures. I love ancient Greek art, but I am not so interested in depicting the ideal form myself.  I am, and have for a long time been interested in the mundane or everday, or current cultural trends.  And  I am also much more interested in the decrepit, worn, haggard, worked, odd, tired, etc.  To me there I find much more truth in those aspects then in the ideal.

I was so impressed with Derek’s show at Hatch Gallery in December that when I came up with a list of great shows in 2009, I put it at the top. click here to link to and read about it.

Click here to link to the Derek Weisberg Swee(t)Art studio visit, 2008

  1. nice…
    derek is killin it right now on tons of levels.
    gotta see his new work in person…

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