That's me doing my thing! When I am not painting, I am hiking and when I am not hiking, well, you get the idea!
Thank you for taking the time to view my work. Getting to know an artist and learning about what they do is an important component to enjoying the art that they make. Please read on to see what it is all about.
Photo courtesy of Susan Alford
What is this art about?/Artist statement:
When I was a kid, I enjoyed working on puzzles. These were the type with about 1000 pieces inside the box and a picture on the front showing the final image. Trying to find the right piece was a challenge but in the end, the picture eventually appeared and the puzzle was finished.
Today, this idea of putting together a puzzle is how I think of what I love to do as an artist. Rather than using literal puzzle pieces though, I use color, line, and shape to express what I think or feel about the world around me. Taking something complex or indistinct, such as the landscape or an abstract idea, and turning it into something simple and easily understood is a kind of problem solving for me. Much of what I do is an effort to bring an idea or impression into focus. It's the need I have to gather up those aforementioned "puzzle pieces" to create a final image.
That final image is inspired by spending as much time as possible paying attention to my surroundings. What am I seeing or hearing? Did I learn something interesting or visit a place that had some meaning? The colors that I work with along with the shapes and lines all come from those observations. And although there isn't always a direct and literal interpretation of those experiences at work, they are the underpinnings for my pieces. Those observations get reinforced by a regular practice of writing and reflecting. What do I think and feel about what I saw or learned? Those acts of writing and reflection allow me to organize my thoughts and are important because translating something abstract like an experience or feeling, can be challenging. And while this process helps me to order things, the expression of those ideas through geometric abstraction is key. Those shapes, lines, and colors are the physical manifestation of what I experienced. I find that geometric abstraction helps to overcome that challenge of expressing something intangible and turns it into something that can be worked with.
What is Geometric Abstraction?:
Geometric abstraction is literally what it sounds like: art that uses geometric shapes such as squares, rectangles and circles to create an image that may or may not have a particular meaning (it is abstract or "non-objective"). This is different than something like a traditional landscape or portrait painting where objects or people can be named and identified and the purpose of the painting seems clear. Geometric abstraction has been around and in use for hundreds of years. Most recently, starting in the early 20th century, it has been used to move away from more realistic painting and to express the purity of painting itself: materials, color usage or perhaps line and shape interaction. In any case, geometric abstract art has a long tradition in our world. A detailed history can be found here.
What is a collage painting?:
I call what I do "collage painting" or "painted collage landscapes." For me, these terms combine two genres: traditional landscape painting and its use of the tools of composition such as line, shape and color, and collage which utilizes the layering of objects (usually paper) onto a surface in order to create an image. Both traditional painting and collage making have a long and venerable history and at times have been combined into one art form (think Henri Matisse). My contemporary collage paintings are a blend of those two genres. I use traditional painting concepts (composition and color theory) to guide me as I layer together (collage) my own painted papers onto a paper surface. The resulting images are a kind of synthesis of both ways of working.
Artist's Bio and Influences:
(written in the third person because it's expected and oh so real!)
Libby Fife earned her B.A. degree in Psychology from Cal State University, Hayward and worked for 17 years in the banking industry. A layoff in 2007 prompted her to re evaluate her path and to look seriously at doing something more creative. Over the years, Libby has worked in several mediums in an effort to find just the right "fit." Quilting, basic printmaking, painting, and most recently collage, have all played a part in her current direction of making art.
At this stage of the game, painting directly onto paper and cutting out shapes allows for the greatest expression. Those shapes, colors and lines can be changed endlessly and arranged easily until something meaningful and pleasing is achieved. The process is very much like solving a puzzle. The finished collage painting is very satisfying in this regard.
An ongoing effort to learn about design and composition, art history and the language of creativity, along with sales and marketing, has led Libby to her current level of work. She has sold her work both in and out of the county where she lives and has exhibited her paintings in local shows. Additionally, Libby has taught classes in sketching and color use to beginning/intermediate painters. Currently, Libby shows her work online with her blog, Libby Fife Fine Art, on Facebook (Libby Fife Fine Art) and on Instagram under Libby Fife Fine Art.