Thursday, April 29, 2010

"At Play"-Libby Fife

At Play
11" x 14"
Acrylic Paint on Fabric; Stitching; Affixed to painted 3/4" profile canvas

I have thought about this piece so much that I am not sure what to say about it anymore. This month's photo is beautiful but not something that would normally hold my interest. I did catch on to her (Nellie's) mention of the geological layers. The "earthy" colors attracted me as well and with the layers and the colors in mind, I got to thinking. I chose a more macro view of things; layers of meaning, experience, time, and history all shared by the people that had created the park and visited the area over the years were ideas that I concentrated on. Since it would have been impossible to represent all of that, I extracted out a set of imagined children and represented them in silhouette, at play. At the same time, I was listening to Paul Simon on my iPod. His song Spirit Voices really helped to spark my concept and really got me to thinking about all of those who have come before us and who will come after us.

My thoughts then turned to achieving something that was layered. It seems very natural to focus on the strata of the side of the hill but because I am me, I chose to represent the layers in a different way. I layered paint, used lighter values in the back ground, and made the children a little darker. I omitted the children's' exact features-eyes, hands, and any broader details. To me, the pseudo silhouettes are just the beginning of something. People recognize shapes first before they start to identify details. The details are "layered" on to your brain somehow so that you form an entire picture of what you are looking at. I did sort of stick to layering the colors that I saw in the photo but they do overlap each other.

I am aware that the piece looks very simple and sparse, perhaps unfinished. Getting everything I felt from looking at this piece is just not possible. From my end though, this suits my idea of that slice of earth. It is ever changing and unfinished; it doesn't look like much until you start thinking about it.

10 comments:

  1. Lovely! The layers of soft paint in the background (did you use sponge printing?), and the stitching sketch work together perfectly to make a unique piece. There's definitely a dream-like, fleeting quality to it.
    The interpretation of the photo is totally unexpected, although you had mentioned that you were thinking about "layers of time." You are definitely YOU, and nobody else. Congratulations!

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  2. One of the ideas I almost pursued with the photo was the idea of dead people, fossils and how the earth is made up of stacked up "stuff" (even the landfill idea) but I had to reign in my thoughts. My first glimpse of your piece, Libby, reminds me of what I had been thinking. As young children scampering above the earth, they would someday be resting in the earth. It's a bit of a lifecycle approach which I find very obvious in the photo. Your piece also alludes to the fun children have in water splashing around (even though they are not in water or bathing suits) so I definitely "get" what you are saying in your piece.

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  3. Nice! Your thinking and work certainly does march to the beat of a different drum.

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  4. I remember you talking about how your thought process in interpreting this photo was going in this direction. It is indeed a "Libby" piece. I love that painted background. It almost has an mother of pearl look to it. Your children remind me of your sketching you have been doing of late too. Very good to see all these elements come out in your work.

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  5. I definitely hear the echoes of the laughter of these children as they play beside the water, when looking at your piece. And although your interpretation is very complex and broad, I can still connect it to the challenge pic. I still get a glimpse of those colors, and the layering comes through strong with the technique you chose. I am glad you chose a more "personal connection" in your approach...other wise we would have missed seeing such a delightful piece!

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  6. I am constantly surprised by all the different interpretations we have from a single photo. This is really a 'you' piece! I see the layers in the background and like how you have broadened the idea to make it your own. A happy work!

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  7. I am thoroughly enjoying the very different thought processes that go into our individual pieces- and I loved reading how you got to this, Libby. It is uniquely you! The stitching and paint work well together- the entire piece has a dreamlike quality to it.

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  8. Very interesting interpretation, Libby. I always like to see a different approach, and would like to know more about the technique. Unique and lovely!

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  9. I didn't expect to see children but can I certainly understand how time/history carried you there. Haunting, yet interesting... I like the simplicity.

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