Over the span of Patrick Luber’s career he has explored the serious and humorous intersection of religion, national identity, popular culture, and folk art as they relate to American culture. His sculptures are unified by his use of referential objects as sculptural form, especially familiar objects, such as beds, books, architectural forms, or liturgical objects. Through the manipulation and combination of these ordinary objects, a visual language emerges which expresses the idiosyncratic experiment called America.
“Threshold: the place or point of entering or beginning. Although I have worked in many different mediums and artistic modes over the years, the two things that have remained constant have been my interest in relief sculpture and various aspects of religion, especially the practice of prayer. Both relief sculpture
and prayer are thresholds.
Formally, relief sculpture’s placement on a wall locates it within the context and threshold of architecture—and draws attention to the images and objects we deem important enough, or worthy enough to be displayed. As we shape our environment with images and objects, these things, in turn, shape us. Prayer can be thought of as a threshold too, an entry point to spiritual realms. Prayer literally intersects all aspects of culture, from health care to politics and science. As such, prayer becomes an expressive entry point for visual exploration of our idiosyncratic culture.
What seems to collectively unite our culture is popular culture, and I employ various tropes to unite my interest in relief sculpture and prayer. Drawing upon popular culture, religious material culture, national identity, and vernacular art, I work to continue and expand upon the timeless relationship between art, religion, and spirituality.
More broadly speaking, a work of art is a threshold—a beginning point for both the maker and the viewer to enter other visions, ideas, and emotions. As a fellow teacher and artist once expressed, as we begin the journey into a world of artistic expression “we find our souls immigrating to another world and we have to leave our belongings behind.”
~ July 20, 2020
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