I find in my time in Grand Rapids that there are three distinct categories that all artists must endure: like it, hate it, eh [shrug – neutral face].
The same is often said about artist Ashley Lieber who, over the years, has really begun to grow on me. (No pun intended.)
For starters, it does not hurt that at the core of her latest round of works is a commitment to sustainability. Her philosophy is backed up on our her website with a quote by Rachel Carson: “If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow.”
Not a bad place to begin with a body of work where "to nurture" should be somewhere on the instructions concerning the care of her living works of art.
And this is where I begin to really enjoy her work. As a person who has tilled the earth to receive its bounty in my garden, I know how the thrusting of one's hands into the cool soil creates a bond to the land that only gardeners can know.
This relationship between the natural world and the realm of man in it is something referred to as Ecopsychology - a sub-field of psychology that examines the human experience within the natural world. It is in her art that we begin to appreciate and see the subversive nature of her art pieces' ability to change our views.
Lieber's paintings can do fine on their own until some future point where, under the proper conditions, these painting have been known to begin to grow. At that point the lessons of cohabitation between mankind and the natural world will come into view, and we'll take a fresh look at how we must operate to sustain this balance of harmony.
The "Swoon" exhibition will showcase drawings, material musings, and reflections on the 'Moss for Meditation' series. "Swoon" was curated by Linc Gallery's Hugo Claudin,