May 12th, 2010
Libbie Masterson: Storms Behind Plexiglass
“I want to fly into your pictures,” I confessed to Libbie Masterson upon approaching her this past Wednesday at Wade Wilson Art, the official home for her photography exhibit, SKY: A Study of the American Sky. She surprised me by saying thank you instead of asking me to leave for fear of me harming the breathtaking images trapped helplessly behind plexiglass.
The American aspect of her exhibit honors the theme of contemporary U.S. photography in this year’s FotoFest Biennial. The exhibit is being showcased in two different spaces. The first space holds the Day Study of Sky series: different archetypes of American landscape are dominated by visions of clouds over them. Masterson captured these images from airplanes, mountains and hilltops. She rhapsodizes on a certain photograph a little longer than others. Santa Fe depicts a dark storm building over mountains and sauntering layers of clouds above. The mountains and the clouds seem to act as mirror images of each other.
Masterson was inspired by the relationships between clouds and the land on a plane ride over Norway. This is where she observed that the presence of lenticular clouds indicates the occurrence of glaciers below. She uses her photographs to express this relationship time and time again.
The second part of the series, Evening Study of Sky is being housed in a temporary space directly across from Wade Wilson Art. Walking through the doors you are greeted by a massive triptych of a placid body of water that reflects the image of the landscape so perfectly one cannot decide where the shades of amber, green and black landscape begin or end. Chisos Mountains threatens to dominate the gallery space and your time but the real gems are small archival prints found on the wall directly to the right of the entrance. The photographer documented the progression of a lightning storm during Hurricane Ike. The shadowy landscape being interrupted with bright white lines are alluring and haunting.
Libbie Masterson’s photographs give this expatriate a whole new appreciation of all things American and the slight urge to go for a walk in the clouds.