Bohemia In Wasteland
Deakins Studio Gallery presents art and performance for the forward-thinking.
Thursday, February 17, 2000
Art and Performance
From the street it doesn''t look like a gallery. Sitting next to Granite Construction''s site in Sand City, the Deakins Studio and Gallery looks more like a misplaced Pacific Grove cottage in the middle of an industrial wasteland.
It isn''t until you walk in that you realize dreams for an arts empire are being hatched here.
Inside the unpretentious little house cum gallery, sculptor/gallery owner Robert Nave hung the walls with sensuous body sculptures, molded from casts taken of live models. Recently he removed a wall to provide a more open feeling, as well as space for experimental performers.
Deeper into the house, you enter the inner sanctum where Nave displays his more personal sculptures and reveals his interior design sensibilities. In what amounts to Nave''s sales room, an old wooden roll-up garage door stands on end, creating a room divider; plant stands collected from various sources anchor the walls; and one-of-a-kind art pieces hang from the walls. The room reeks of gothic-hippie bohemia.
Last year Nave bought the molds, inventory and customer list from Griffin Works to provide a steady source of income to help finance his more creative efforts. The Griffin Works line of sculptures is heavy on gargoyles, grotesques and other stone castings. "If you can''t afford a $5,000 body cast, you can find a gargoyle head for $30," Nave says.
While Nave''s original works are the soul of the gallery, the garden sculptures are at the heart of his wholesale and retail business. He''s simultaneously running three businesses. And he''s been doing them so successfully that he was voted one of Sand City''s businesses of the year in 1999.
Part of what Nave hopes to do with the gallery is provide a space for other artists and performers.
This weekend, the gallery picks up where Carmel''s Martin LaBorde Gallery left off when it cancelled its experimental music series last month. Bay Area musician Andre Custodio presents "Nihil Communication" a concert that incorporates early synthesizer music, sampled soundscapes and unique instruments like the amplified T-rodimba--a 4-foot-by-6-foot piece of plywood with bent screws that Custodio bows, pieces of brass that are played like gongs, and nails that are rubbed with erasers.
According to Custodio, "I try to stay away from a harsh electronic sound. It''s a very ambient experience, basically. The sounds I set up are very dreamy, very head-spacey."
Performances like this, hopes Nave, will help establish the gallery as an avant-garde center on the Peninsula. But if the performances fail to do that, they won''t be around for very long.
"I want this to be more of an upbeat, stylish space," he says. "If there''s anything that I don''t want, it won''t happen. There''s only one direction here, and it''s mine."
Nihil Communications performs Saturday at Deakins Studios. See Hot Picks, p. 18.