Down from the Mountaintop: “Joshua and Jesus” by Cynthia Hibbard

Nightvision

Nightvision

At Shift Gallery, Nov. 3-26

Cynthia Hibbard’s show Joshua and Jesus imposes a connection between two towering two biblical figures—a deity and a prophet–who themselves share the Hebrew name “Yehoshua,” among other characteristics, and the awe-inspiring landscape of Joshua Tree National Park. Working across various media–vinyl, collage, monotype, woodcut, silk screen, sumi ink with gouache and gesso, etching with chin colle, oil with gold leaf and polymer clay–she weighs the spiritual impacts of man, gods and pantheistic forms in an irreligious, often whimsical way. Hibbard’s interest in an array of processes and materials is the basis of her recent explorations into elevating the status of reclaimed refuse, patterned or random landscapes, eroded monuments and tattered surfaces found in unexpected urban locales.  Narrative threads and satire also inhabit Hibbard’s work, leading her to re-imagine 13th to 15th century Florentine images of the Madonna’s holy infant seated upon her lap and clutching a totem bird in her tongue-in-cheek Christ Child portrait series, “Jesus, the first ornithologist,” and also in her nod to the chaos of current world affairs in her black and white ink and gesso grid of sections from the New York Times as “What Jesus Saw.”