Figurative painter Beth Hibbard was born in her parents’ trailer on the Hopi-Navajo reservation in southeast Arizona. Her parents, both native Angelenos, relocated to the area so her father could become a general practitioner of rural medicine. Her mother - also an artist - left behind a successful soft-sculpture design company to raise Beth and her sister in the colorful and expansive desert.
Beth showed an early aptitude for rendering the human figure. Hours spent in secret carefully studying her father’s mysterious and gruesome medical textbooks influenced the figurative themes found in Beth’s early work. By age fifteen she was attending figure-drawing classes at the local junior college and a student at a vocational high school for the arts in Santa Rosa.
In 1998 she moved to Chicago to attend The School of the Art Institute, but was quickly disenchanted by the culture at the university, and dropped out after only one semester. Beth finally found her creative community in 2002 when she happened upon Creativity Explored San Francisco, a day-program servicing Artists with developmental disabilities. After a brief period volunteering at Creativity Explored, she was offered a full-time Art teaching position at a sister program in Sonoma County, where she worked for ten years.
Over the last decade Beth's personal paintings have dealt with themes of fertility, intimacy, death, and mental illness. Her most current series continues to address ideas around how the body metabolizes emotional energy.
Beth currently acts as the Gallery Coordinator and Art Instructor for Alchemia Gallery and Studios, a theater and Fine Arts program for Artists and performers with disabilities in Sonoma County. She resides and creates with her son on their semi-rural Art Farm in Petaluma, California.
Statement for the seriesBoundaries
When I am struck by a concept for a body of work, the act of realizing it becomes automatic. I like this approach because it allows enough space for spontaneity, and allows the subconscious to make decisions and guide me towards a conclusion. The conceptual structure that I envisioned was to paint a portrait series of Artists that I knew, all sitting in the same chair in my studio. I saw a rigid space occupied by a subject whose boundaries are limited. In my painting and in my professional life, I have felt compelled to champion the creative personality. I have observed the creative people I know, including myself, to be conduits for both their own emotional energy and that of whomever is inhabiting their physiological space at a given time. This sometimes-disorienting level of empathy can often only be resolved by an act of creativity. If an artist is able to metabolize their experience from a place of authenticity, then the result can be enormously healing for the viewer. The subjects in this series were both deliberate and advantageous, representing a concentration of creators whose personal work I believe is making a difference in a world in need of change.