Fred (August) Gerlach
Don Rubbo was always an individualist way ahead of his time, which put him on a difficult road. He never wavered, but still took the time to help other artists along the way, in any way that he could. His accomplishments need to be more widely recognized.
I remember when he had a gallery showing of his large carved and painted Styrofoam sculptures that changed form literally, when designated colored lights were applied. You stood there and they actually would breathe and swell before your eyes, they were incredible. One was reminiscent of the microscopic bone structure of a birds wing. It was a dozen or so feet tall, looked extremely delicate and seemed to have a life of its’ own.
At the shows opening some idiot said, “ ….this piece has little value, what is it…its not marble or wood…just packing material.”
Don sometimes had an expression that could crack a boulder, so without saying a word he started climbing the 12 foot sculpture where hand and footholds were available. We knew how strong this new and unheard of medium would become because we diligently applied so many coats of acrylic polymer for strengthening before Don gave it colors and life that you could almost park a car on it.
Anyway, that episode caused an eye opener among the crowd. This was the kind of crap Don had to constantly contend with. His achievements need much wider recognition.
You’ve got to keep in mind, that here was a guy who would go through daily life with a sort of Salvatore Dali moustache and a pony tail fixed atop his head appearing sort of like an onion in a business suit. He told me that he did this to make sure he weeded out all conformists from his life. On the other hand I remember helping him on projects for the Goddard Institute for Space Studies through George Goodstadt. Don was always able to keep his feet planted, on his own terms, in the establishment and avante garde worlds.
by Fred Gerlach