Art Maker Libby Hawk Salutes International Women’s Day in Sarasota
Joan Libby Hawk, ceramist and painter, opens LIBBY HAWK ART MAKER online gallery/shop, March 1, 2021, showcasing her contemporary ceramics and paintings timed to celebrate International Women’s Day, March 8, 2021. Ms. Libby Hawk selected International Women’s Day to salute women makers everywhere, celebrate the power of art to promote women’s rights and benefit the Gulf Coast Chapter of UN Women, USA, a Sarasota-based champion of women’s equality. She worked for more than 15 years atUN Women headquarters in New York City and will donate 20 percent of ART MAKER online sales during Women’s History Month (March), to the Chapter, which supports UN Women’s global programs.
She explains: “I recognize that connecting my modest enterprise to International Women’s Day seems unorthodox, but it makes sense to me. Like many women, the struggle to hold together the strands of parenting and earning a living compelled me to put art aside. After a productive career concentrating on advancing women, I took a leap of faith in 2017, opened my Sarasota, Florida studio and returned to those artist’s roots.”
Libby Hawk’s ceramics and paintings defy easy categorization. Following her aesthetic curiosity, she creates ceramics in small series using porcelain and stoneware, mixes her own glazes and explores firing techniques. Her paintings, whether acrylic, oil, watercolor, cold wax or collage, embrace materials that advance her vision. She says, “I’m definitely rooted in a modern sensibility but ever interested in what came before and why. Given the onslaught of our unfiltered visual age, I value directness. My work usually starts with a question I’m puzzling over: What’s underneath this landscape? What happens if I paint both sides? What if I build this clay form and add it to another?”
The form, color and texture of her distinctive clay vessels and paintings draw the eye and hand. They enhance life and surroundings. In contrast to today’s frenetic and disposable culture, the artist’s one-of-kind art provides a meaningful visual touchstone. LIBBY HAWK ART MAKER online reflects the commitment to treat each piece as a distinct and individual character. Influenced by training at the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford, England, she frequently starts with drawings that provide the framework for experimenting with forms, colors, space and attitude. Libby Hawk explains that ceramics and painting converse continually – even argue – and that their dialogue expands exploration.
Wide ranging studies include earning an MFA from the City University of New York, seminars at the Bangkok Museum, Thailand and exposure to South East Asian art while working for the UN in Phnom Penh, Cambodia heightened her appreciation of ceramic history, glaze development and changing sensibilities. She closely observed calligraphy’s rhythmic dance and Asian art’s spatial conventions.
She explains: “In this stressed, socially distanced period, LIBBY HAWK ART MAKER online confirms that continuing advocacy for women, now through art, remains central to me. I look forward to engaging in a virtual conversation with viewers, which I’ve missed intensely. I’m visibly joining millions of women entrepreneurs and artists making their way, each broadening the path for the next. Add in lending support to an impressive local organization advancing gender equality, what could be more affirmative?”
ABOUT THE ARTIST – Joan Libby Hawk
Joan Libby Hawk, recently recognized by the Halo Arts Project with a 2021 Fellowship Award, is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, studied at the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford, England and subsequently earned an MFA from the City University of New York. Living in Bangkok, Thailand and Phnom Penh, Cambodia provided opportunities to study Asian art and ceramics. In 2017, she opened her Sarasota studio after a career in New York directing communications at NGOs, government and the United Nations promoting women’s human rights. A member of Sarasota’s Art Uptown gallery, where a changing exhibit of her work is always on view, she teaches ceramics at Suncoast Technical College and belongs to Women Contemporary Artists (WCA). Shows include COLOR & CLAY—DUET, Art Uptown, February 2021 and participation in area juried exhibits such as the statewide Florida’s Finest 2020 at Art Center Sarasota.
Photo from Libby Hawk Website