Sea Shanty (1996),
oil on canvas
Lorna Libert, a painter originally from New York, now lives in Bellingham, Washington and teaches at Central Washington University. Her art focuses on historical and sociological themes to which the decaying architectural frameworks of Americana point.
Worn and collapsing structures like abandoned houses and wooden boats form the content of her large canvases. By emphasizing fragments of their decomposition within persistently solid structures, Libert portrays them as metaphors relating to the liminal state of our culture. Their looming perspectives underscore the endurance of their original architecture, which, through thick strokes of oil paint, she freezes in this moment of time.
Without anthropomorphisizing these icons, Libert nonetheless imbues them with strong personality. The tilting perspectives, black and souless windows, yet solidly rooted foundations have an insistent presence. They confront the viewer on an intimate level with a poignant mortality.
© Mia Johnson