Artist, object maker, conceptual thinker


 
 Ron Huebner, Jan van Eyck Academie studio, Maastricht 1986

Ron Huebner, Jan van Eyck Academie studio, Maastricht 1986

 

 

Ron Huebner (Edmonton 1959 - Amsterdam 2004) was an innovative, conceptual artist who primarily dealt with three dimensional form. For over twenty years he was passionately engaged in the creation of a distinctive body of work grounded in a focused and personalized vision of the human experience. The work was consistent and enduring, resonating with a timeless sensibility that transcended stylish techniques, materials and/or art trends. Over the years expositions were realized in both North America and Europe. There was always a gravitation to showcasing the work in venues representing alternative perspectives with a focus on experimental development.

The extensive oeuvre of work that emerged is intellectually complex, expressively direct and visually forthright. It is timeless in content, referencing human issues that move deep below the surface. Huebner was a traveler into the psyche using art as the mode of transportation. While the journey was personal, the work resonates universally. From installations that activated the senses through sound, temperature and/or materials, to small intimate hand-held objects - the physical manifestation of conceptual ideas was always highly original and contextually meaningful. Huebner was a strong, silent Canadian cultural voice that created a body of memorable work reflecting both a personal trajectory as well as responses to his surrounding socio-cultural environment.

Huebner’s formative arts education took place in North America; Camosun College in British Columbia, NSCAD in Halifax, and Empire State College and The Cooper Union in New York. He was influenced by individuals such as John Greer, Hans Haacke, and Dennis Oppenheim, to name but a few. While living in New York he worked as an assistant to Oppenheim which became a lifelong and influential relationship. 

In 1984 Huebner went overseas to attend the highly regarded post academic institute for creative research and production, the Jan Van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, Netherlands. Working independently in a studio environment with access to facilities, materials and various mentors time spent at JVE were pivotal in Huebner's development, as it presented the circumstances for concentrated exploration and experimentation, and importantly, direct access to participation in the European cultural experience.

Over subsequent years Huebner challenged himself with the production of solo and group expositions in both Canada and overseas. Finding the cultural climate and international context of Europe to be more supportive of his endeavors led to the eventual decision in the mid 90’s to maintain a studio base in Amsterdam.

It is difficult to discuss the oeuvre of work without understanding the nature of the artist. Huebner was passionately consumed by his visions and the committment to realize them, which often came at personal compromise. The body of work created is in it’s entirety extensive and strong, simple yet sophisticated with an undeniable thread of consistency and quality. Huebner used a variety of materials and methods in the realization of ideas, always primarily focused on, and concerned with, the development of the underlying concept integral to the intention of the work. As a conceptual artist he was not slave to a particular technique or methodology of visual production.

Throughout his professional career Huebner was not interested in ‘art trends’ but focused on his own creative voice thereby placing himself 'out there'... sometimes precariously, as though a vehicle, a transmitter/receiver for investigating the surrounding world. While there were those at the time that did not understood the sincerity and true distinctiveness of the work... others were deeply moved by it and continue to be. Huebner envisioned life as "one long moment... that moment of silence which lies like a twilight in between the darkness and the light.” The essence of the work comes out of that somewhat undefinable yet discernible place of thought. As John Greer wrote in a 1994 review of ‘The Greyhound Series’ solo exhibition at St. Mary’s University Art Gallery, Halifax 1994: “No matter how i weave Ron’s work together, stringing piece with piece, regardless of their chronology, the work comes with the same refrain; it never fails, and it never tires… Ron deals with common humanity. He is not interested in the petty and the trivial.”

Found in the work is a great sense of urgency, but also a great sense of contemplation. It is this powerful dynamic that makes the work and artist extraordinarily and historically memorable.

Ron Huebner passed away on March 1, 2004 in Amsterdam from major injuries sustained in an accident.

Krista Kilvert
The Ron Huebner Legacy Collection + Archives