In his loft space with a blue checkered linoleum floor in NE Portland, Christopher Bibby can be found working primarily in oil and oil/wax on canvas and panel. When I walked into the studio the music was turned up, and he was practicing salsa steps, an apropos introduction to the kind of light-hearted whimsy that is infused into his art. For him, beauty is not high concept but rather, quite concrete. It is a simple input-output equation which relies on a process of geometric extraction and color filtration.
As a young man, Christopher Bibby began selling watercolor vignettes on the streets of Glasgow. It was art for the everyman; each piece was unassuming in size but nonetheless captured the attention of an audience and catalyzed his career as an artist. Christopher found an innate joy during his early days in Glasgow being able to support himself by making art. He put in the time and commitment, improving and evolving to where he is today. More than twenty years later he stills believes that art should be accessible for everyone, and he has engineered reproduction methods that incorporate the original mark of the artist’s hand.
Currently Christopher’s work can be broken into three thematic categories: landscapes, cityscapes and most recently, wine country. Of all his work, the landscapes are defined by the most abstraction with flat planes of color and heavy use of outlines. There is order and harmony in their composition and subtle suggestions of familiar places. Christopher’s cityscapes feature minimalistic skyscrapers, existing as monolithic symbols dependent on bold color and shape to transcend the limited personality of steel. By definition cities are full of people, but without figures, the chaos of man fades away and the paintings become spatial meditations.
In his pursuit of capturing beauty, Christopher’s recent choice of wine country is a logical addition to his oeuvre. Along with the elements of abstraction he uses in his other landscapes, these works stand apart by his treatment of light-- an inner glow and warmth radiates from within the canvases. Signaling his interest in this new direction, Christopher maintains a studio in Hood River and will spend the summer there surrounded by the inspiration of the area’s hillside vineyards. His studio will be open to visitors. But he recommends a stop first at nearby Betty’s Diner for a slice of Marionberry pie.
Interview and photos by Alexandra Hasson
For more information visit iambibby.com.
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