Local Artist Creates Immersive Visual Experience On View Ringling College Englewood Art Center
What She Could See, Joan Libby Hawk’s multi-disciplinary installation, on view at Ringling College Englewood Art Center from January 9 – March 14, 2024, creates a visual and spatial experience at once contemplative and stimulating. Working with clay, paper, canvas and bamboo, the artist’s collection, made especially for the Mitchell Gallery, challenges assumptions about two- and three-dimensional art, how people look and move about the exhibit’s multiple paths. Captive to the idea of “freeing painting from the frame,” Libby Hawk expands ways viewers interact with a collection of art, alters the experience, maybe even slowing it down.
Two-sided paintings, like vintage 45 rpm records, offer a full theme and variation in one work. Boldly colored folded paper strips hang from the ceiling, kinetic, changing. Others, attached to the artist’s invented bamboo gates, stand on the floor or pedestals, dynamic and shifting as the viewer moves and the surfaces catch small air currents. Large-scale wall-mounted paintings, whether on shaped canvas or flat paper, open vision-filling compositions and colors.
The artist’s ceramics ground the installation and clay’s sculptural properties flow throughout. Larger pieces function like symbolic garden markers, showing the way and inviting one to pause, meditate. The forms may nod towards antiquity yet feel entirely present. Smaller, detailed pieces in porcelain or stoneware invite close observation.
Libby Hawk’s vision for this show sharpened over the past two years. Her love of making in three-dimensions inspired her exploration of unconventional painting forms, particularly appreciation of paper, the way it tears, folds, moves. She says, “Like slippery steppingstones, the pieces led the way. The opportunity to build an environment of related art works to make tangible a world that existed in my imagination fueled the process resulting in What She Could See.”
Mitchell Gallery January 9 – March 14, 2024
Reception: Saturday, January 13, 2 – 4 PM 350 S McCall Road, Englewood, FL
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Joan Libby Hawk’s work has been included in national and regional artist shows receiving multiple awards including the Halo Arts Fellowship in 2021. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, studied at the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford, England and earned an MFA in ceramics from the City University of New York. Her art has been shown at Sarasota’s Define Art Gallery, Art Center Sarasota, Mara Gallery + Studio, Gainesville Fine Arts Association and Florida Craft/Art among others and she teaches ceramics at Suncoast Technical College. In 2017, she resumed a full-time art practice opening her Sarasota studio after a career in New York City advancing human rights and women’s equality including at the United Nations Women’s Fund.
Photos from Joan Libby Hawk