Carl Dern: A Delicate Imbalance
January 19 - March 3, 2013
Curated by Jennifer Gately
The late Carl Dern (1936-2009) was a much-loved Marin artist known for his humorous sculpture and gentle spirit. A Delicate Imbalance features three decades of drawings, sculpture, furniture and maquettes selected from the collections of his family and friends.
Throughout his artistic career Carl Dern created chairs, ladders, and trees from steel, bronze, and wood, which often served as metaphors for the human form and the fragility of life. Despite the solidity of their materials, his tall, carefully balanced chairs, tilting ladders, and delicate trees often seem just on the verve of tipping, conveying a sense of potential motion and the uncertainty of all things.
Carl Dern graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1969 and received his MFA in sculpture from the University of California in 1972. Both he and his wife Marie, an accomplished artist in her own right, went on to become an integral part of a close-knit circle of Marin artists and writers that began to take shape in the 1970s.
Carl Dern’s work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions in the Bay Area and beyond and can be found in the collections of the di Rosa Preserve, Luce Foundation Center for American Art at the Smithsonian, the Fresno Museum, and the Pacific Medical Center among others.
Carl lived and worked for the majority of his career in Stinson Beach and Fairfax, California. The Bolinas Museum has included Carl Dern’s work in a number of exhibitions through the years and in 2003 commissioned him to create a courtyard gate as a memorial to Jeffery Ruesch, a man who deeply loved the town. Carl later generously donated the 1986 bronze chair that is now permanently installed near the Museum’s entrance.