Libby Barbee: Landscape Reconstructed
06/17/2023 - 07/01/2023
Opening Reception/Satellite Saturday (w/Koko Bayer mini-piñata-making activity): Saturday, June 17, 12 - 4 PM
Through various media and forms, my artwork explores the contemporary political and social implications of American frontier myth, and imagines the western landscape as both a culture-defining myth and as a thoroughly domesticated and culturally constructed space. This exhibition presents a selection of collage-based artworks created over the last decade that deconstruct and reconstruct images of landscape, exploring themes of human manipulation of the natural world, myth, and American ideology. Many of the artworks presented here are constructed using satellite photographs of Earth created by the Landsat satellite program (an earth-imaging program jointly managed by NASA and the US Geological Survey), combined with fragments of painted paper and images gleaned from the Internet to create sometimes bizarre and often frightening images of the new frontier. Others utilize historic aerial photographs to create idealized panoramic mountainscapes. With an eye toward historical representations of the American landscape (especially the works of frontier photographers of the US Geological Survey and painters of the Hudson River School) and the other eye toward the future technological landscape, these works imagine the eventual conclusion of an American frontier myth that is at once romantic and idealizing, and yet both insatiable and ultimately deceiving.
Libby was born in 1981 on the southeastern plains of Colorado and currently lives in Denver, CO. She received her MFA from the Mount Royal School of Art at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. She completed her undergraduate studies at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO; receiving a BFA in painting, a BFA in Art History, and a BA in French Language.
At the root of Libby’s art, lies a fascination with the emotional, psychological, and cultural implications of place. She is fascinated by the human ability both to manipulate and be manipulated by an environment; and revels in the often confusing and multifarious mix-matches of meanings and associations that cling to particular places. From interactive sculptures to images of western landscapes constructed from fragments of cultural debris, her work explores the dynamics that emerge from the interstices where people and place collide.
Recently, Libby has been interested in investigating the sometimes poetic, sometimes startling, but always-complicated relationship between nature and culture. Her most recent work explores the historical relationship between Americans and their environment, and is specifically engaged in an examination of the American frontier myth and the mediating role it plays in the relationship between American identity and the American landscape. Through various media and forms, Libby’s artwork explores the contemporary political and social implications of the frontier myth, and imagines the western landscape as both a culture-defining myth and as a thoroughly domesticated and culturally constructed space.