Photographic Detail, Calligraphic Gestures

Stephanie Hargrave

Cynthia Hibbard is sharing her month at Shift with her brother David, and the two styles could not be more different.  His photographs are almost monochromatic, austere and subtle.  Her paintings are brightly colored, no less serious, but loose and gestural.  The overlap of ideas and the playful way she interprets imagery from his photographs closes the stylistic gap meaningfully.

David Hibbard, a serious landscape photographer from Menlo Park, has persistently visited the Olympic Peninsula, shooting the area for years.  Interestingly, he only has the use of one eye due to a congenital disorder.  He doesn’t see depth of field—in life or in his prints.  His camera acts as his extra eye – a fancy Phase One FX (developed for high-end fashion photographers) that allows him to capture amazing detail. 

Cynthia Hibbard has a long history of printmaking, painting, and doing small batches of like-minded pieces, happily jumping around in terms of different media.  She gets restless staying with just one, and it allows lovely variety in every show.  

Playing off David’s work, she turned to landscape, and drew inspiration from her travels.  She studied the light of Lopez Island and Japan, as well as red rock country in both Utah and California.  Her painting “Happy Valley” was painted specifically to correspond to the water reflections in her brother’s beach scene (both in the gallery’s street window).   Instead of reflections, she rendered similarly shaped, orange calligraphy in the sky.  In fact, most of the pieces in this show include calligraphic strokes – the collage over Bears Ears National Monument, sumi strokes in a series of watercolor monotypes, and calligraphic features in two black and white monotypes.  

Both artists share a love of landscape and draw from traveling to the most beautiful places they can find.  What I find fascinating is how these siblings find such different ways of expressing it.  The familial aspect brings a sweetness to the viewing experience.  This shared effort is as substantial as the mountains and bodies of water they depict.

Cynthia Hibbard and David Hibbard at Shift Gallery through November 30, 2018.

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