I am pleased to introduce “local” Australian artist and personal friend Libbet Loughnan. I highlight “local” as although she is a born and bred Aussie, she is an intrepid global traveler. She rarely stays put in one place too long. Over the past few years, Libbet has passionately pursued her artistic calling. She has exhibited her paintings in solo exhibitions locally in Geelong and Melbourne and crossed the globe to Cebu, New York City (NYC), and Mexico City. Her work has also been featured in art shows and international fairs in Osaka, Germany, and Italy. I have meant to share her work with you for some time, but she is a hard girl to pin down! The moons finally aligned last week, and we caught up just in time for the launch of her latest solo exhibition at Bridge 38 Gallery in Richmond, Victoria.

Libbet’s artwork is refreshingly personal. She draws on fond memories of her childhood, sights, and experiences that have touched her in her travels, and her deep appreciation of nature and the people she has connected with. Read on to see more of Libbet’s work and details of when you can meet her later this week and chat over a wine!

1. When did you discover your passion for the arts?   I have always sketched and painted since when I was a kid. Back then, I mainly had two types of paintings in my repertoire: horrible little romantic cliched pics and sea creatures, which still captivate me. I’ve been trying to build something much more personal from it since 2013. My passion will constantly be expanding. The more I see art’s magic to simplify, re-imagine, re-engage, and open doors not just for me but for anyone or a topic that is too stuck in the mud, the more I love it.

2. How would you describe your current artistic style? How has it evolved over the years?

My style varies as I like to explore different genres and draw on travel experiences. My pieces generally exhibit rich colors and dark shadows like you can see now at Bridge 38 Gallery in Richmond, Victoria. Some works explore my childhood, rich in family warmth, spending time under the Australian sun. Others reflect on stories encountered across countries in my adult life, my reflection on the place of humans within nature, and portraits. My work is drawn from life. Figurative. 

I also love to paint on a smaller scale on mini portable wood panels. I travel a lot, so I love to paint from the pop-up studio when I can. I am traveling in my suitcase. At the moment, half of my pieces are commissions, many of which are portraits. I am currently working on three that will end up hanging in NYC, Vancouver, and rural Australia. I also love to paint a large watercolor on paper every so often, which means one chance in each layer of paint. Two of my watercolors will be shown in the Ceres Gallery of Chelsea (NYC) next month. Another artistic pursuit I enjoy is sculpture, playing with viewers from all perspectives.

3. Who have been your biggest influencers/mentors? Family, friends, and the surrealists.

4. What has been your most significant achievement so far? Maybe receiving the President’s Award at the National Arts Club, NYC (March 2016) or the fully hosted Residency in Civitella, as the first prize awarded by the Council of the Academia Luciana (Italy, August 2015).

5. For all aspiring artists, what valuable lessons have you learned on the way?

Try to get better at expressing yourself.

6. What do you hope to achieve with your art over the next 12 months? I want to explore sculpture more. I enjoy the different aspects it attracts. Instead of looking at a painting front, I can place a statue right into someone’s life. There’s not just the 360-degree perspective to think of but also the complete (theoretical) globe around the piece from which it may be viewed. I recently exhibited sculptures “Where Two Meet / We’re To Meat” and “Jellyfish Bling .”The latter was suspended, floating not far off the ground between two palm trees in a sculpture park in the Philippines. Its 6-meter comprehensive copper circumstance and 1000 16-faceted glass beads could be re-interpreted as a striking chandelier in a dark restaurant somewhere.

If you wish to get up close to view Libbet Loughnan’s art and sculpture, she is currently exhibiting at Bridge 38 Gallery in Richmond until the end of the month. You can even meet the artist herself there this week. The Gallery will host drinks on Thursday and Friday from 5 pm -7 pm, and Loughnan will also be there during all open hours on Friday and Saturday.

She will also be painting in group pop-ups as part of the Surf Coast (Oct 12-13) and Bellarine Arts Trails (Melbourne Cup weekend – Nov 4-5) later this year.

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