Caleb Weintraub’s Art Exhibit

By: JOAN COLBERT

I stumbled upon the Vincennes University Art Gallery in Vincennes, Indiana after making a few wrong turns in the Humanities Building. The lights were still on, but when I pulled on the door it was locked.

The gallery director noticed my disappointment and opened the door, and standing next to him was the artist. I didn’t have much time as they were closing for the day.

I made a quick turn around the room. The walls were covered with life-size painted canvases. I had no time for analysis.  I soaked in the mainly restful colors and smiling, innocent bald faces, albeit strange faces, partially obscured by vines or wallpaper.

Coordinated sculpted beings were in a grouping, highly polished, happy, and numb at the same time. As it turns out, the artist, Caleb Weintraub is a sculptor too!

I came away with a pleasant impression on this quick visit.

I had the good fortune to be able to visit again… to enjoy the gallery exhibit entitled, “I Feel No Paint II.”

This time, I looked more carefully at the main subjects and beyond. However, I was a bit disturbed this time, as I saw serpents and a few other weird things I hadn’t seen the first time.

Later I was to find out from Weintraub the backstory of his unusual art. He likes to work with the surreal, hybrid styles, digital, and traditional mediums. In these paintings and sculptures, Weintraub said he used “surreal elements and magic realism, as well as dream imagery in a viable space/world.”

He said that the only purchased objects in the sculptures were the dolls’ eyes. He added resin to these to make them shinier. He went on to explain that the surrealism used was a stream of consciousness and he included an intrusion of dreamlike elements into reality.

About the Artist

Caleb Weintraub has been drawing, painting, and sculpting for 12 years at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. He is originally from New York, north of New York City.

Drawn to IU for its strong painting program, he figures the University’s art department brought him on as a “wildcard.” Since Weintraub arrived, the art department brought on three more wild cards: a political artist, a minimalist artist, and an expressionist painter.

Weintraub started drawing when he was very young. Growing up, Weintraub recalls quiet hours in the living room where he learned and drew from an inspirational coffee table book(s). In addition to art books at home, he sought books on art from libraries, and enjoyed going to art museums. During high school, he put artwork aside, but in college he returned to art.

Weintraub studied sculpture, narrative and small dioramas as an undergraduate. He loves creating big artwork. Sometimes he filled rooms with trees and other objects to observe light sources and shadows.

The sculptures are the props for his paintings he explained. He creates many sculptures from foam, plaster, and chicken wire. One time, he went to Kentucky to use a robot arm to carve into foam. This is very expensive, however.

Artists Who Impacted Weintraub

The following artists have influenced Weintraub: Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel, Jan van Eyck. Contemporary artists he likes include Inka Essenhigh and Ruud van Empel. Some old school artists include Henri Rousseau and  Rogier Van der Weyden.

But aside from painters and sculptors, Weintraub’s work is “sort of equally inspired by fashion designers, photographers, and filmmakers such as Thom Browne, Seydou Këita, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

When He Creates Art

He said he’s busy teaching during the day and goes home to enjoy time with his three children. Sometimes, he goes into the studio at 11 p.m. and works well into the next morning. Sacrificing sleep seems to be the only way.

Where He Displays Art

A student of Weintraub’s at IU went on to direct the art program at VU a few years ago, and he invited his former professor to display his work.  It seems the roomful of compelling art at VU will be shared in many places.

Weintraub’s favorite place to display his artwork was the Peter Miller Gallery in Chicago, Illinois. His contact there was supportive and open, not levying a lot of rules and requirements. “I got spoiled by that,” Weintraub says. Unfortunately, it is defunct now.

The exhibition ended on  March 17, 2017 at VU. After VU, his pieces will be displayed in Louisville, Kentucky and two places in Miami, Florida.

He would like to learn of additional gallery opportunities.