Kubo’s world of assemblage
I highly recommend that if you can sequester yourself away with Lucien Kubo and hear her talk about the atrocities of war, life as a Japanese American, and how both things relate to her artwork, it will be a meeting well worth your time.
Such an experience may not be accessible for everyone, and thus that’s the pleasure of finding Kubo in The Mill Gallery as she prepares to install a series of contributions to the Assemblage + Collage + Construction show.
Kubo is refreshing, unpretentious, and happy to share about her journey into the world of assemblage. And in fact, it didn’t happen all that long ago. Now in her mid-50s, she wasn’t always an artist. It was when her children left for college that Kubo’s life took an interesting turn. “I needed to become more involved in things that were interesting, like art; things I wanted to do but was always too busy to do, so I started taking classes at Cabrillo. When I went back to school, it was just to pursue art, but not seriously.”
Little did she know that she would quickly become recognized as a talented artist. But first, she had to conquer drawing and composition classes, and then she found her niche—assemblage. “I could see the importance of my past experiences coming into my art work,” she says. “I like the ability [with assemblage] to make more of a complex statement so you have layers of meaning in something.”
There’s her piece, “Intelligent Design,” which, by way of assemblage, addresses the varying ideas of creation and evolution, Darwinism, etc. And there’s the moving piece called, “Japanese American Internment,” which includes a piece of metal she found when visiting an actual internment camp, as well as photos of where her parents were held in a camp.
“A lot of the pieces for this show are related to my heritage,” Kubo says. “My grandparents and parents were all put into internment camps.
“To create a piece, I may take the concept and make a little station and find dome pieces and leave that for a month or a year,” she adds. “And then I make a commitment to finishing that piece. It’s somewhat time-consuming. I slowly have to accumulate pieces for it … and then figure out how to construct or assemble it.
“I love being able to mix all the different art mediums,” she adds. “It’s like recycled art, it becomes new life.”