What would you say influences your work?
My influences vary from craft, nature, art history, travel, literature, opera, you tube, friends. Different but similar from everyone else in this respect. It amazes me how each individual is an intense point of accumulated experience, layered onto a unique DNA of inclinations and abilities. Irreplaceably replaceable. Everything factors in, even the things I wish I could keep out. In this body of work in particular, I'm recalling the sensations of growing up in Quebec, the Automatistes, the catholic symbols, the landscape, living so far away from downtown in the suburbs.
Where do you find inspiration?
My inspiration is in part my process , that is, it grows out of handling my materials, trying to find my next steps forward, looking for the satisfaction of surprising myself and making something new. That's why the paper I work with and the tools I pick up are so important to me.
Last summer I did a residency with fellow Loop member Yael Brotman at Aras Eanna, on a remote Irish island. That inspired me to develop an animation which I've been working on since about Irish history and personal history, leaving home and my father's death. It sounds rather grim but it's also about reconciling with the past and moving forward, finding joy and making peace.
Tell me about your current colour palette?
The colour in this work overlaps memories of stain glass, neon glowing on "the Main", the palette of Borduas and Riopelle, the aurora borealis, and the beautiful colours of a line of acrylic gouache by Turner. They are so dangerously beautiful and subtle that there is a risk of using them too often straight from the tube and forgetting how to mix colours. Thankfully it's not a greyscale world since colour gives so much joy, it's like a visual drug. If you look at a gorgeous emerald green from Old Holland for instance, you want it to fill your whole field of vision (if you can afford it), or a combination of colours - maybe orange and mauve and think, Wow, I don't want anything else from life. Besides, something has to balance North Korea.
What is your process for creating work in your studio?
My process involves having a lot of things at various stages of completion on my walls so that even if it's not moving forward, it's percolating. That's why I like your asking for pictures of my studio and why today I'm sending you some images of the same studio taken previously as I was getting ready for other shows. The ones I enthusiastically sent you last week were of the studio mess that preceded my current show at Loop. I've been so busy I haven't cleaned up for a couple of months. I stood back with some satisfaction and thought, Wow, Is this a big mess. I was sharing my inner 6 year old.
Now that your current show has opened, what is your point of departure for the next body of work?
Next is finishing this animation before the patience of the incredibly helpful people at TAIS wears out. I'll also try to work out how to proceed with the work at the Loop show. I'd like to show it somewhere in Montreal because I want to see if they feel and connect to it's source, in part, because I think the feelings and attachments of the Quebec anglo community aren't factored in to the political equation there as much as they should be. Anglos are perhaps too hurt and too reticent about their attachment to Quebec. Since the PQ is so busy creating division I would like to acknowledge the separation but embrace the connection.
Thanks for the visit Libby!
To see more of Libby's work go here: libbyhague.com