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international painting annual 3 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Libby Barbee
La Veta, Colorado

detail image


At the root of my art lies a fascination with the emotional, psychological, and cultural implications of place.  I am fascinated by the human ability both to manipulate and be manipulated by an environment and I revel in the often confusing and multifarious mix-matches of meanings and associations that cling to particular places.  From large interactive sculptures to images of western landscapes delicately constructed from fragments of US Geological Service photographs, my work explores the dynamics that emerge from the interstices where people and place collide.

More often than not, my imagination lingers on the sometimes poetic, sometimes startling, but always-complicated relationship between nature and culture. My 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, my 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.

Reimagining Bierstadt and Black Magic are part of a body of work that takes my interest in the American frontier myth as a point of departure and explores landscape through a lens that is tinted by contemporary anxieties surrounding the increasing confluence and confrontation between nature and technology.  I am currently 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.  With an eye toward historical representations of the American landscape, especially the works of frontier photographers of the USGS 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.   



born: 1981, La Junta, Colorado


Maryland Institute College of Art, MFA, 2011
Colorado State University, BFA Painting, 2006
Colorado State University, BA Art History, 2006

selected awards/honors

Mount Royal Fellowship, Maryland Institute College of Art, 2011
Vermont Studio Full Fellowhship Award, 2011

selected publications

New American Paintings; West Edition #96.  Boston, MA: Open Studio Press p. 24-25,  2011

selected solo or two-person exhibits

Wilderness and Other Fictions, Platte Forum, Denver, CO, 2012
Frontier, MFA Thesis Exhibition, Meyerhoff Gallery, MICA, Baltimore, MD, 2011

selected group shows

Method of Exchange, Points North Gallery, Farmington, ME, 2012
Once Upon a Time, Silber Art Gallery, Goucher College, Towson, MD, 2011  
Small Decisions, Big Outcomes; Gallery 500, MICA, Baltimore, MD, 2011
Rocky Mountain Biennial, Museum of Contemporary Art, Fort Collins, CO, 2008


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