We usually exhibit a rotating selection of local artwork on the walls of our bistro and tap room. This week, we just hung a new show by Lorna Libert who was also the very first artist to ever grace the walls here at Boundary Bay Brewery! It’s been 15 years since that first show and we invited her back as part of our 15th anniversary celebration coming up in September! Lorna’s artwork often features boats, buildings, trucks and birds. Here’s what she has to say about her creations:
My paintings are inspired by old structures: abandoned buildings, weathered boats and rusting trucks. Aesthetically, these edifices have magnificent forms and shapes, yet I am attracted to their crookedness and decay. The fading wood, peeling paint and broken windows provide each image with a personality and a history. Utilization or these subjects imparts cultural metaphors relating to time, society, man and nature. They hold within them mysteries and suggestions of the past. These commonly found subjects are now beaten and worn, yet they speak of strength, dignity, love and time. Their future is questionable. The old truck will continue to rust and crumble. Nature may take over a vessel and send it to the bottom of the sea. Man may tear down an old beloved house leaving it to be paved over and parked on by Wal-mart shoppers. I am attempting to open peoples’ eyes, to draw their attention to the human side of life and to remind them of the humanity that these 20th Century relics and ruins represent.
Through the warping of space and the subtle nuances of color, I emphasize the significance of these worn and decaying structures. I employ Renaissance theories of perspective along with multiple viewpoints in order to establish an ambiguous, all-encompassing pictorial space. This space invites the viewer to experience the subject and the place. It creates a feeling, expresses a personality and emphasizes the dignity of my subject. Using brushstrokes of color and light, I describe the movement or stillness of the environment. Weathered wood, dripping rust and peeling paint create patterns and colors that provide for a sensuous surface. By focusing on these tactile qualities, I am emphasizing the feeling of solidity and decay of each building, vessel or vehicle.
The process of creating my work includes various procedures and experiments. I make several on site visits to the subjects which I am attracted to. I will do some sketching and take photographs to use as references in my studio. My small canvases are usually painted on location, while the larger pieces are worked in the studio. I experiment with variations in the shapes and sizes of my paintings, including diptychs and triptychs. Some pieces are worked on canvas, while others on wood panel or masonite. My works are always changing through composition, space and color until I reach what I feel is the most effective visual statement.
Through creativity, experimentation and research, I am suggesting historical and sociological concepts that are connected to these abandoned and decaying structures. By placing these commonly found structures in a unique space and emphasizing specific characteristics, they become icons and metaphors relating to our culture. The abandoned buildings, vessels and vehicles of the 20th Century will continue to decay, but through thick strokes of paint I am seeking to immortalize their profundity.
After spending over a decade inspired by worn, weathered fishing boats, I have developed a fondness for the sea birds that adorn them. Soft feathered bodies, beady little eyes, and wonderfully formed feet provide each bird with an intriguing personality. Their stance is often elegant and graceful, yet the wind in their feathers and the look in their eyes can be as expressive as an old salt reflecting on a long life at sea.
I have spent many seasons on commercial fishing boats. Throughout this experience, I have been studying and appreciating the quirky characteristics of sea birds. I am attracted to the soft and subtle forms of their bodies and how they contrast with their bold angular beaks, skinny little legs and boney bright feet. Out fishing, or tied up in port, I take photographs, draw and paint. Time of day, time of year, wind, fog, sun and rain provide various types of light, shadow and reflection. These elements influence the expression and the mood of each piece. Some of my paintings are completed on board my “floating studio”, while others are painted in my studio at home using my photographs and sketches as references.
As with an old boat, I find character and personality in birds. The juxtaposition of weathered fishing vessels and these curious, feathered creatures continues to fascinate me. With such whimsical elegance, they too tell stories of the sea.
Stop in for a pint and some dinner and check out the amazing work of Lorna Libert. Her paintings will be on display through our 15th anniversary which is on September 16th. You can also enjoy art classes with Lorna from 1:00-4:00pm on Wednesdays at the artist’s studio in Downtown Bellingham. All-day Saturday Workshops are also offered quarterly. Please visit her website for more information.