Gallery Spotlight: Brett Rubbico Gallery

 As the new art season is set to begin the OC Art Blog will be doing several Gallery Spotlight’s introducing our readers to our many exciting local gallery’s and their respective programs. First up is an interview with Brett Rubbico who opened Brett Rubbico Gallery in 2009. Brett Rubbico Gallery will be opening an exhibition of work by David Michael Lee on Saturday September 8th. The opening will run from 7 to 10pm. We hope to see you there. Now the interview:

OCAB:  Why don’t we start by having you tell us a bit about your art background and how the Brett Rubbico Gallery came about? 

 BR:  Having a diamond jewelry and industrial/construction background I become interested in alternative materials familiar to me for making art.  I began to experiment with less traditional materials such as industrial paints, stains, resins, composites, plastics, rubber, diamond, glass oxide, concrete, and various types of metals.  I began working and making very interesting abstract minimal sculptural works and paintings made with these materials and progressively advanced into more complex highly sophisticated paintings that are heavily layered and textured.  Diamond and glass oxide micro spheres became dominate mediums that were introduced into my paintings.  These materials add texture and capture and reflect light, which radically alter the dynamic of space.  I have a strong interest in movement and desire to make a painting come forward, recede, remain still, expand, or contract are all of great interest to me as an abstract reductive or minimal painter and gallerist.

 After a residence and art education in Florence, Italy, extensively studying and making art with numerous successful exhibitions, and visiting galleries and museums for many years, I became fascinated and very interested in the important role of well managed and successful commercial contemporary art galleries.  After discussions and wisdom from various gallerists, artists, critics, and collectors the opportunity was presented to acquire the very effective space we are in now.  I decided with great interest, vision, and support to open Brett Rubbico Gallery.  The space was professionally designed and built out to determined specifications set forth for our contemporary exhibition requirements.  The space has great natural light and is centrally located with approximately 80,000 passing vehicles a day in Newport Beach, CA in a 1950s historic building to serve and contribute to the community and beyond.

 OCAB:  I get the sense that your gallery program is interested in contemporary abstraction, is that correct? How would you describe your program?

 BR:  Yes absolutely. Our programming is focused and directed toward reductive and purely essential painting, drawing, and sculpture with an emphasis on abstract minimal and moving toward values of monochrome work that is very well made. The Southern California life style, weather, and light strongly influence art made by regional artists that we think is very important and significantly worthy of support and exhibition regularly.

 Brett Rubbico Gallery is recognized as the authoritative and educational gallery for contemporary art in Orange County with an emphasis on related diversity of work styles including reductive, minimal, abstract, geometric, hard edge, figurative, and landscape with strict adherence to a rigorous curatorial model and directing.

 OCAB:  What is the local/regional/national mix of artists you show?

 BR:  Artist stable roster: Jane Bauman, Tom Dowling, Mitch Esaki, Ray Friesz, Michael Gallagher, Christopher Georgesco, David Michael Lee, Brett Rubbico, John Scane, Tessa Shane, Vonn Sumner.  Currently we are also considering additional artists Tony DeLap, Craig Antrim, Cathy Breslaw, and Ted Emrick. 

We primarily represent an exclusively well sought stable of influential established and emerging Orange County, Los Angeles, and surrounding Southern California and West Coast regional artists. We also diligently continue searching to discover new potential rising stars. We are interested in Pacific Standard Time era in Los Angeles more specifically during 1960-1980s inclusive of Light and Space, Finish Fetish, and West Coast Minimalism movements. Additionally we seek to build, maintain, and exhibit our gallery stable roster with relatable and newly made current work.

 OCAB:  Can you tell our readers why you chose Orange County as the location for your gallery rather than Los Angeles?

 BR:  I reside and enjoy the central location of Orange County with the proximity between San Diego and Los Angeles Counties as well as Riverside/Inland Empire, mountain, desert, and ocean areas.  It is convenient to travel the Southern California region North, South, East or West.  Additionally, I wanted to locate the gallery very close to the community where I live and frequent.  Occasionally as a service I will open the gallery by appointment after or before normal operating hours or on days closed.  I also think Orange County in underrepresented in well run contemporary fine art galleries.

 OCAB:  What have been some of the positives of being located in Orange County? Have there been any difficulties?

 BR:  Having mostly grown up in Orange County and understanding the culture and demographic here has helped relate to local/regional collectors, artists, gallerists, critics, directors, museums, etcetera.  Given the large amount of people with discretionary income to afford fine art there are not many contemporary fine art galleries.  We offer well managed authoritative direction, education, and the opportunity to build and increase the value and aesthetic enhancement of private, corporate, and public collections.

 OCAB:  Do you have plans to participate in any art fairs this coming year? Do you feel art fairs are an important?

 BR:  We do not currently have plans in participating in art fairs this year.  I do attend art fairs periodically and think they do have an important place when a gallery is ready and has a budget to allow for an effective participation Art fairs can become very expensive when taking into consideration booth fees, art freight/insurance, transportation, accommodations, food/drinks, entertainment, time away from the gallery.  The goal in exhibiting in art fairs is to support your collectors and exposure to a broader demographic, expand your name and brand, and of course to sell.  I think choosing the correct art fair is crucial for successful participation and should be chosen very methodically and wisely.

 OCAB:  Switching gears a bit, what advice do you have for artists based in OC who have yet to find gallery representation? How should they focus on marketing their artwork?

 BR:  Orange County is a challenging location to build an art career.  While there are some very good galleries, most have established stable rosters and developed relationships with artists.  It is highly recommended to be familiar with the gallery artists, programming, curating, physical space, staff, history  to determine a good fit.  The work and relationships are very important for marketing and should supported by a thorough curriculum vitae and images.  Websites are good, images should include an organized, arranged, and focused cohesive group of work with titles, medium, size, year, not everything done that is unrelated.  Showing career work, providing updates, and showing progressive work is always good, however there should always be cohesiveness throughout, not everything unrelated together.  If progress is made developing a relationship with a gallery it is good to offer to bring work into the gallery and/or offer a studio visit for further study and exposure of your working studio environment.  Galleries will usually request an exclusive regional area, an artist should agree and abide loyally to all agreements.  This includes directing all sales through a gallery.  Sometimes it is very difficult to determine where a direct sales lead was established.  It is best to include the gallery in all sales.  It is the best professional choice and will mature respect between the artist and gallery.  Prices should never be discounted to sell directly to a buyer.  This is very damaging to an artist’s career, the gallery, and the collector’s value and ruins reputations.

 OCAB:  Do you have any advice concerning etiquette that artists should adhere to when communicating to galleries? Should artists resist the urge to contact an art dealer out of the blue, or is a certain amount of boldness OK?

 BR:  Use your instinct when approaching or communicating with galleries.  Listen and look for strategic opportunities, be honest and dedicated to what you say and do.  Allow the gallery to control the business and acquisition of your work.  If an artist thinks they fit well into gallery programming and there is not another way to be introduced then contacting a gallery unsolicited is usually acceptable.  It is recommended to ask if artist submissions are being accepted at this time and abide by set procedure and format.

 OCAB:  September is the official start of the art world and we are excited to see what you have in store for the Orange County scene this coming year. In closing, is there anything you would like to say about your gallery or any future exhibitions?

 BR:  We are also very excited for the coming season and have our impressive gallery calendar set as follows:  Next upcoming exhibition is David Michael Lee – S p a c e d  O u t  8 September – 6 October 2012  Opening reception:  Saturday 8 September 2012  7:00-10:00 p.m.  Next is John Scane / Vonn Sumner 13 October – 29 December 2012   Opening Reception:  Saturday 13 October 2012  7:00-10:00 p.m.  Next is Tom Dowling 5 January – 23 February 2013  Opening reception:  Saturday 5 January 2012 7:00-10:00 p.m.  Next is Jane Bauman 16 March – 25 May 2013  Opening reception:     Saturday 16 March 2013 7:00-10:00 p.m.

 We are influential pioneers, leading a resurgence and developing a new movement as a result of dedicated like minded, intensely focused, and professionally career orientated people that remain true to their interest and aesthetic of the Southern California demographic and landscape. We are progressively advancing in an important and significant direction representing some of the finest well sought artists and consistently mount and install world class museum quality exhibitions, leading to regular awards of well respected critical acclaim, reviews, articles, and accolades.


361 Old Newport Boulevard

Newport Beach, CA  92663

 Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. & by appointment


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