The Art of Brian Sproul on display at HSU – February 18, 2010

Sculptor Brian Sproul in his reality distortion field. KLH | Eye

HSU – Humboldt State University’s Reese Bullen Gallery presents The Art of Brian Sproul, Friday, Feb. 19 through Friday, March 12.

Artist Brian Sproul, a longtime resident of Arcata, died in 2008 leaving the contents of his home, self-titled The Horrible Spiders Gallery, to the Art Department at Humboldt State University.

This exhibit, developed by the University’s Museum and Gallery Practices program, combines the art of Brian Sproul with photographs of Sproul’s home by Nicole Jean Hill and Allyson Riggs.

Brian’s art, while sometimes dark or unsettling is quite moving. Sproul’s aunt, Carol Pechler, remarked about his art, “He’d want us to face the ugly of some human behavior, not to deny it. He’d want us to find release in humor and creativity and to share those experiences with others.”

Brian Sproul is remembered fondly by friends in the community for his wit and intelligence. Evidenced in his art, many of his creations are decidedly tongue-in-cheek, as his brother, Richard Alwine described, “A lot of his work was done as a joke or to push people’s buttons, but mainly to entertain Brian.”

On a cautionary note, a number of pieces on exhibit feature adult themes and may be inappropriate for some viewers.

This exhibit provides viewers with an opportunity to see Sproul’s work, to learn more about this prolific local artist, and to honor his memory and life. The Art Department at Humboldt State University is honored to be the recipient of his work, a selection of which will be added to the Permanent Collection of Art at the University.

The Brian Sproul Estate also gave the Art Department a very generous gift that will benefit students for years to come. The Art Department is most grateful to Brian Sproul and his family for remembering HSU with this bequest.

The Reese Bullen Gallery is open Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday between the hours of noon to 5 p.m.; Thursday, noon to 7 p.m.; Friday, noon to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Gallery is situated in the HSU Art Building, located directly across from the Van Duzer Theatre. On campus parking is available at dispensers on Harpst Street, just off of L.K. Wood Blvd. Parking meters are available throughout campus, including B Street.


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  1. kevin burke said:

    I knew Brian as a teenager. He was in bands in L.A. but was always disatisified with the arrogant rockstar attitudes he encountered with perspective bandmates. He was jazz trained, but could realy rock ‘zeppelin’. He joined the C.C.C., was introduced to Humbolt county, and never looked back. He was absolutly in love with the wild(nature). The acccident took away his access to most of that. I don’t think he ever got over that. He had never chased the dollar but the accident thrust it upon him. I think he felt his time was shortened anyway, statisticaly; might as well enjoy it best you can.
    I wonder what happened to my ‘Germs’ album, and ‘Gone’?(he had them)My wife and I visited on our honeymoon(1990), and were planning to come up for a visit in April. I was looking foreward to sharing his art and listening to some “T.V. on the Radio”, among others, but then he died. He is missed.

  2. Paull E. Rubin said:

    Brian was the original drummer in my 1982-86 Humboldt County based band, “Sugarbush”. I was alarmed when Brian failed to show up for a band rehearsal in McKinleyville one evening, he had a car, a station wagon and had been driving up from his home in Weott at the Apple Creek manor with friends like Bruce, Allie, many more…I called and and Allie told me the bad news. Brian had spent the night with a girlfriend in Redcrest, and had decided to hitchhike home to get his car. He was on the southbound offramp hitching a ride when an on duty U.S. Army officer, Emory Jones, then 46 yrs of age decided to take the offramp but at he last second changed his mind, and changed lanes on the 101 Freeway offframp, striking Brian. He was sent airborne at least 60 feet across the freeway, destroying almost every inch of his body. Mr. Jones got out of his vehicle and was heard to have said “aw it’s just a damn hippie”, then got back in his Brocno (he was ON DUTY OFFICER!) and continued on his merry way. There were 9 witnesses,the first two, Jim & Mary Bales,& a nurse were the 2nd car on the scene. Mary got out and literally held Brian’s HEART together while her husband Jim sped after Jones car and ran him off the road, pinning him in his vehicle until the CHP arrived. I visited Brian at St. Joeseph’s hospital in Eureka, he looked like the mummy. He was in alot of pain. He acquired many unsavory “friends” due to his wealth he acquired for having successfully sued the Army and lived an eccentric artist’s life he probably would have lived anyway. He was a great drummer and had a breath activated kick drum and hi hat (since the accident left his legs paralyzed)..he gave it up to do art, we jammed one more time at his party to celebrate wining the lawsuit against the Army, but it was a hollow celebration. He was 23 when his life was severely altered by a drunk driver, and on duty U.S. Army officer no less AND it was his 3rd (THIRD) offence! Brian is gone. We will miss him. Thanks for remembering him, paullie!

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