This blog is to keep a record of my previous artist’s statements.
2020-2021 – Berlin
Colours were my first love yet, during my fine art studies, the teachers in drawing and sculpture inspired me the most and I went on to complete a BA (Hons) in Fine Art – Sculpture in London.
It was the vivid landscapes of Southern France that drew me back to painting. Ten years surrounded by silvery vineyards and tree lined roads gave me chance to observe the warm, strong light which vibrates through everything causing colours to gain fullness and importance. The majestic plane trees lining the Canal du Midi and their tragic felling was my muse for many years, but that chapter is closing.
Now, in Berlin, the forests surrounding the city have begun to whisper to me. Secretive and mysterious, guardians of history, dark and yet full of intrigue.
My new work investigates the fragile symbiosis between humans and our environment.
In trying to represent the ancient relationship between trees and mankind, a technical problem has presented itself: As soon as the figure steps into the landscape it risks becoming a ‘scene’, a mere backdrop to the human narrative. How can I introduce a human presence without an undesirable shift towards the Kitsch or Romantic? How can I keep trees as the ‘hero’ of the composition?
Answer: Scale. If the human presence is very small by comparison to the trees, I can use our tendency to identify with the human element in artwork to say “Look, we are really small, isn’t that beautiful?!”
Humanity’s domination over the planet in the last centuries has brought us to the brink of destruction. We are slow to recognise that our most healthy position is within nature, not to dominate rather, to participate; one element in a sustaining ecosystem. These paintings should be uplifting and at the same moment humbling.
I paint with oil on canvas, am enthralled by the effects of shadow and light and intrigued by the shift in perspective that the camera lens can give us. That takes us right back to Caravaggio and his legacy. (…via Hockney, working backwards.)
In the past, paintings were commissioned by churches to educate, inspire reverence and encourage people to turn from one way of doing things to another. My most recent paintings have a similar aim; to be a call for personal change in our own times, acting as modern day altar pieces, if you will. They ask us to respect something greater than ourselves, namely the trees which enable us to breathe and the planet which sustains us.
I am honoured to have paintings in private collections on nearly every continent and enjoy working on both private commissions and bodies of work for annual exhibitions.
My connection with southern France is a deep as the roots of a 10 year old tree, not ancient, mais pas rien, que même. In any replanting, some branches die off; an indication of the roots damaged during the transplant. Now in new soil in Berlin, I tentatively seek out new sources, new nourishment and am growing new branches. The statements below represent the growth rings from the years in France.
2016-2020 “It was the vivid landscapes of Southern France in particular the majestic plane trees lining the Canal du Midi that drew me back to painting.
During my studies, the teachers in drawing and sculpture inspired me the most and I completed a BA in sculpture in London.
Life then took me down to the silvery light filled vineyards and tree lined roads where warm, strong light vibrates through everything and colours gain fullness and importance.
I would daydream how to mix that blue sky or distant purple mountains. Could I capture the warm smell of summer evenings or the rustle of the breeze in the plane trees with paint?
Sunshine has a capacity of melting away our troubles and lifting our spirits so I infuse my paintings with the hope-giving light and warmth that the South has shown to me.
I am delighted when I receive feedback from clients telling me that my work has helped them through a hard time or lifts their mood each day. This is exactly why I do what I do!”
2013 – 2016 With collectors in America, Australia and Europe Libby Page has become an ambassador for the Canal du Midi.
Following in the footsteps of the Fauve painters and contemporary artists such as Peter Doig and David Hockney, pushing at the boundaries of traditional landscape, this UK trained artist documents an historic phase of the canal’s story.
Her large, bright canvases envelop the viewer in the beauty of the canal.
Despite the changing landscape as the trees are removed due to disease, Libby Page continues to make work full of hope and life.
“Loss is profoundly tragic, yet mingled in with sadness there must always be space for hope” Libby Page comments. “Even as we loose these ancient trees that we love and are so accustomed to, a different horizon opens up and we gain a new perspective.
This work clearly has it’s origins in the landscape yet for Libby Page the colours hold a secret symbolism. Using the branches of the trees as hooks upon which to hang her colours, the artist expresses herself through code. Like writing with invisible ink, the meaning only becomes clear when we know how to expose it.
Trained originally as a sculptor, Libby enjoys the strong architectural rhythm of the trees along the canal and also choses other manmade subjects to paint, such as the salt fields in Gruissan. Working with these strong compositional elements and the daring palette that she prefers, the artist creates a harmonious balance.