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"Small Worlds: The Intimate Vision of Dale Gibbons"
2007-01-02 until 2007-01-31
GoggleWorks Center for the Arts
Reading, PA, USA United States of America

GoggleWorks is pleased to present Small Worlds: The Intimate Vision of Dale Gibbons, curated by Diane LaBelle & Norman Girardot. The exhibition will be on display in the Leesport Bank Artists Gallery on the third floor from January 2 through January 31. Dale Gibbons (b. 1949) is a largely self-taught artist who currently lives in Easton, Pennsylvania, on the banks of the Delaware River, right across from Phillipsburg, New Jersey, where he grew up. Gibbons has had a diverse career and was always interested in art, playing with crayons when a child and excelling in his high school art classes.

After spending a year in college in York, Pennsylvania, he dabbled in many activities, having a special penchant for rock music, body building, and cartooning. While in California in the 1970s and 1980s, he was involved in a Pentecostal church which led him to street preaching and commune living. Returning home to Phillipsburg to help his mother with an Amway-like distributorship, he continued to work on his art and started in the 1990s to focus intensely on his miniature ink and marker drawings of small worlds and strange mask-like visages – increasingly accompanied by wonderfully impish and often alliterative nonsense wordspoems. He has lived in Easton for the past ten years or so where, in addition to his involvement with The Rock Evangelical Christian church and his devotion to various inventing projects (one of which, his “Reflexology Shower Mat,” is patented), he continues to work fervently on his very intimate yet strangely cosmic art.

The Art

Gibbons’s world in Easton is mostly outside the mainstream art worlds not far away in New York City. It is, however, a world that in the oculus of Gibbons’s passionate imagination and intricate drawings reveals an almost infinite multiplicity of many small worlds harboring obscure yet intriguing portents. To enter into these worlds is to venture into haunted realms made up of an intense, yet often humorous, vortex of intricate lines, emergent images, and playfully sonorous words. At times, it seems that we are peering into the generative core, or cosmic egg, of creation itself – the nuclear nub of interconnected marks, lines, and sounds that lace together into the protoplasmic web of life and meaning. Often faces and many eyes appear along with a litany of silly-serious syllables; and these faces seem to look back at us, daring us to know what was always there. And there are so many faces – some brooding, some drooling, some canoodling, some like shamanic masks welling up from the deep circuits in Gibbon’s brain and hands. These small drawn images – pregnant with the faces of fetal homunculi or Kwakiutl totems – tell us something about the terrible tiny truths, the inner worlds of meaning that we too often hide from ourselves. What those secret truths are, and what these small worlds reveal, is for each of us to ponder. These images are, of course, alluring simply as fascinating miniature exercises in mischievous line, form, and design. But Gibbons’s intimate vision of things seems to give us even more – a kind of portal into the grinning atomic structure of our own psyches.

The GoggleWorks Center for the Arts is a community art and cultural resource center for Berks County and central and southeastern Pennsylvania, and is the largest, most comprehensive interactive arts center of its kind in the country.

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