Rebar is a collaborative group of creators, designers and activists based in San Francisco. Rebar’s work ranges broadly in scale, scope and context, and therefore belies discrete categorization. It is, at minimum, situated in the domains of environmental installation, urbanism and absurdity. Their off-site project, COMMONspace, is led by John Bela, Blaine Merker, and Matthew Passmore.
John Bela is an artist and landscape architect who lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. He skillfully combines artistic and scientific background to establish the conditions for the formation and development of groundbreaking ideas. John studied drawing, performance, and sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago; Biology and Biochemistry at University of Massachusetts; and Landscape Architecture an Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley.
He is a producer of creative ideas and a maker of things. Molded by natural encounters in decaying urban fields and deep industrial experiences in wilderness, he's compelled to explore the raw machinery of human nature.
Blaine Merker began remixing urban spaces one summer in Portland, Oregon with a legally questionable street closure, commandeered barricades and a borrowed video projector. Since then, he’s pursued a fascination with re-arranging the fabric of the everyday--from creating installations that exchange memoirs between strangers, to the public absurdity of Oakland’s Idiot Machine.
Blaine studied history and performed theater at Reed College, and earned a Masters of Landscape Architecture from U.C. Berkeley. As an environmental designer in San Francisco, he now makes the fabric of the everyday that someone else will surely re-arrange.
Matthew Passmore is or has been a native San Franciscan, professional musician, attorney, filmmaker, and conceptual artist. In the early 1990’s he played in the experimental industrial band Chalk Circle, who recorded an album for A&M Records and toured the U.S. repeatedly, including a stint on the Lollapalooza tour.
He wants to build bridges between creativity, functionality and absurdity. He himself is somewhat creative, a little bit functional, and totally absurd.
In 2004, after practicing law for 6 years, Matt left his legal career to pursue art, film, and other creative endeavors full-time. Later that same year Rebar’s first installation, the Cabinet National Library, was presented at the “Put About” symposium at the Tate Gallery in London. Matt currently works as Creative Director at the Interactive Media Agency, a pioneer in creating film and video content for the Internet. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy from UCLA and a J.D. from U.C. Hastings College of the Law.
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