for immediate release - July 16, 2009

"3D Neonscapes" by Russ RuBert

Suspended by wire in hand-shaped aluminum frameworks, colorful neon tubes of glass sputter and click as people move through the gallery "neonscape."

The installation is constantly changing -- each individual piece is triggered to cycle on and off by small motion sensors responding to the movements of gallery visitors. Spasms of color illuminate the room and are reflected in the aluminum frames and paintings behind.

As part of Brave New Art at the Spiva Center for the Arts, artist Russ RuBert has installed seven 10-foot tall aluminum sculptures filled with vintage neon.

The sculpture environment fills a gallery room 35' by 18' and spills out into the gallery hallway and fills the storefront windows.

RuBert says he was inspired by the trillions of electrical synapses that fire within the human brain, triggered by memories, vision, and language. Images or symbols are sometimes jumbled or do not always make sense. Walking though his installation, visitors will see parts of old signs, words, numbers -- but fragmented and reassembled in new dynamic constructions.

Neon is most commonly seen assembled in a flat plane and high overhead. These neon constructions by RuBert play with the fragile curves of glass through three-dimensions. Colors of the glass tubing do not indicated what color the neon will radiate when activiated, so there is also variation and surprise at the changes.

What do the Beggar's Banquet, Shotgun Sam's, and Woo Fats have in common?

...the Cat and the Fiddle, Griff's Hamburgers, the Get N'Go Boy....They are all by-gone Springfield landmarks that used old-style neon in their signage. Artist Russ RuBert has been collecting vintage neon from old landmarks for over 20 years, and his new art installation reassembles elements from these old signs.

The auction of the Cat and the Fiddle is one that RuBert is sorry he missed. He doesn't know what happened to that old neon sign, and he also shudders when he recalls having collected almost a thousand pieces of neon as a student at the Kansas City Art Institute. Much of that neon was crushed by firefighters stomping through his basement wearing boots and wielding axes in response to a false fire alarm.

But seeing this collection of neon, restored to its brilliant color, it is apparent he doesn't have a shortage of neon sources for now. Don't miss this show. Once it's over, the neon will be disassembled for moving and storage, and RuBert says he never creates the same installation twice.

RuBert's other kinetic and interactive public sculpture

RuBert is known for creating large-scale interactive art. His previous works include the Kinetic Man, a 23-foot tall aluminum robot-like sculpture in Jordan Valley Park that people can activate by turning large gears. EchoSphere is another stainless steel sculpture environment on the corner of Missouri State University that includes spinning disks on the surrounding grass.

He creates public art and gallery installations in large industrial studio in Springfield, Missouri that was formerly a peanut butter factory.

For more information contact:
Russ RuBert, 1841 E. Bergman St., Springfield, MO 65802
417.862.3760 or go to


Brave New Art
Light, Pixels, Motion
July 17 - September 4, 2009
opening reception Friday, July 17
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Spiva Center for the Arts
222 W 3rd St., Joplin, MO 65801
Tues-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday 1-5 p.m.

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All rights reserved | © Russ RuBert 2009