AS: How have fashion and luxury influenced your work? LB: Fashion and luxury goods have interested me for as long as I remember. I like to be an observer from afar. I get a wide range of fashion magazines and flip through them religiously. Sometimes I am interested in the object itself or other times I am taken away with the feeling/mood of the fashion spread itself or the advertisement. But more importantly, when I make the piece I like thinking about what do I make to put next to the painting/drawing. So it can have another avenue of meaning.
AS: What role does identity play in your work and how do you use source material from pop culture to express your personal identity? LB: More recently I have brought my identity more into the work. I am interested in having the work chart a path through personal history and a broader cultural context to explore themes of impermanence and identity. Our lives are marked by monumental events and spectacular disasters. I have distinct mental images that represent such experiences for me – things like the birth of my son or the Challenger exploding. Our lives are also filled with mundane moments, small pleasures, and frivolous distractions. The act of drawing and painting these images is an attempt to preserve moments that are already gone or to find meaningful connections between arbitrary things. For me the still life functions in a similar way. It is a staged collection of keepsakes and other personal items displayed with arrangements of cut flowers. Making the work is a way to take pleasure in re-creating attractive objects while also coding my identities (as a daughter, a lesbian, an artist, a mother, a dreamer, a fan, a lover, etc.) into the compositions.
Libby Black's original work for Hermes Boxes is available through ArtStar. Please contact the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org more information.