On average, it takes Jason Haubrich about five years to create enough work to fill an exhibit. He likes to shilly-shally and seems unable to devote himself to one style exclusively, plus he spends a lot of time making ceramics and bronze work. His paintings range from "realistic" still-lifes of flowers to "constructionist" abstracts, which borrow Picasso's tactic of breaking something into its components and reconfiguring it in a way that captures the feel rather than the visual representation. One of his more hardcore conceptual paintings might show an arm with a recognizable knuckle and elbow, but not where they're supposed to be.
But Haubrich also depicts figures as they actually appear in the real world. His new exhibit, through September 30 at Albatross Pub in Berkeley, features portraits of famous jazz musicians -- royalty like Woody Shaw, Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Django Reinhardt, JacoPastorius, Sonny Rollins, and Coleman Hawkins. The artist says he used old black-and-white photos as his point of departure, and made up the color. "That gives me a little bit of room for expression," he explains, adding that he used a slack brush stroke and let the paint build up to give it a rough, funky texture. "I guess jazz for me just really fits the idea of painting. They're similar in their ideas of the looseness of it, letting the individual express himself." His approach is kinda loose to boot. Haubrich describes the jazz series the way Sonny Rollins might describe a late-night session: It's a fun way to work on technique, meaning brush strokes, representing skin tones, and drawing an accurate eyeball. But these portraits don't require Haubrich to barricade himself in the shed or anything. They're good pub paintings. Haubrich's jazz portraits are on display through September 30. AlbatrossPub.com