About My Artwork (Libby Hoagland)
Throughout my life, I’ve been drawn to contemplate the miracle of this world and humanity’s place in it. Although I have studied philosophy and anthropology, and to this day continue to read widely in the sciences in hopes of catching glimmers of understanding, I find that the arts – specifically painting – provide the best vantage point from which to contemplate the riddles of existence.
For years, the subjects I depicted have been inspired by archetypal and mythical images of people working at mundane tasks. A persistent theme of my work is to ennoble and re-dignify aspects of our world that we tend, as a society, to devalue or not see at all. Many of these unseen aspects comprise the overlooked but essential work that women have traditionally done. More recently, the themes of my images are directly inspired by the mysteries of the Anima Mundi and Divine Feminine. Increasingly my paintings are depicting a world whose elements -the land, hills, rivers, sky, the plants and animals – all exist as actively sentient beings with their own capacities of perception and sparkling intelligence. When I consider the natural systems of life, I see manifestations of group collaboration on every level-from the molecular to the biomes and micro-biomes that we call soil, forest, and our own mammalian bodies.
The aesthetics of folk art with its direct appeal to everyday experience influence my work. I paint with my hands and old rags, using brushes near the end of the process for detail work. To begin a painting, I develop texture on the board by applying gesso and then use rags to layer in broad areas of color. I often finish the painting with oil pastels, charcoal and gold leaf. I sometimes paint and rag a pattern onto a hand-made frame to enshrine the little world contained in the painting.