Standing before a painting and pondering it is never just about its intrinsic here-and-now-ness nor the moment you're occupying.
You might be thinking about the future, and what people who live centuries from now will make of its subject matter or style. Or you might be wondering how many viewers have enjoyed it over the years.
And you're definitely, almost totally thinking about the artist, as well as the setting where the painting was once but a blank canvas.
The Brewery Art Complex is a colossal collection of such settings, and has been since 1982. It's where dozens of creative visionaries and iconoclasts call home, or call work, either keeping a residence at the former Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery or using a space on its gargantuan grounds as a studio.
You know The Brewery's can't-miss-it smokestack: It's at the 5 Freeway and Main Street. The spread below the stack is hard to miss, too, seeing as how it encompasses 16 acres and multiple structures.
Peeking at where so many blank canvases, and lumps of clay, and unwoven fabrics first get lift-off, first take shape, isn't too hard, if you're patient. The Brewery, which is billed as "the world's largest art complex," opens its gates to visitors two times a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.
The spring weekend is here, which means art lovers'll descend, with no dollars paid for admission nor parking, on Saturday, April 29 and Sunday, April 30 for the Brewery ArtWalk. The times, both days, are 11 to 6.
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That's the beautiful takeaway: Pay nothing to wander among studios galore. You'll see completed works and pieces that are only just starting, and you may just meet more than a few artists, too.
Need a preview of what you might spy while saunter through studio after studio? Expect a heaping of everythingness, in terms of the materials and means the artists are employing. But here's a peek.