Robert Libby’s most recent work explores duality.  Like his graduate work that dealt with reflections, his new work finds the balance between the two images being seen simultaneously.  Through the use of inviting subject matter and color, the paintings beg the viewer to find their moments of harmony and their instances of discord.

Libby was born in Philadelphia and now resides in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.  He received his Bachelors of Fine Arts in painting and a Bachelors of Science in Art Education in 2006 from Millersville University.  He received his Masters of Fine Arts in painting from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 2011.  Currently, Libby serves as lead art instructor at Perkiomen Valley High School in Collegeville, Pennsylvania.


There is balance within duality. Two forces work either with or against each other to sing or to fight. My latest work deals with finding the balance in double imagery. I am placing the viewer between two images shown at the same time. They will find passages that sing in harmony and they will uncover moments of discord, all the while invited by sometimes recognizable imagery and a painters’ delight of a palette.

For every dark, there is a light. For every blue, there is an orange. I was first hypnotized by duality in my graduate work.  I was featured in a storefront style window at the Phoenix Village Art Center in my home of Phoenixville. In recounting photographs of the installation, I was entranced by the way the reflection of the world behind me merged itself with the world beyond the glass. Careful nuances of shapes and color realigned to form a new flat image. The photographs were more interesting than the paintings.

Like a magpie collecting shiny objects, I obsessively photographically documented the way light danced of large panes of glass. Three worlds would unite when the glass itself was colored or decorated with text and pattern. The image behind the glass almost voyeuristic, the world reflected seen best in the shadows, and the rearrangement of the spatial plane by the glass itself would collide. This led to more careful and considered selection of imagery, and eventually to the latest series of double imagery. Two or more images are shown at the same time, begging the viewer to find the poetry between them.

In the guise of Lee Friedlander, photography is my sketchbook but oil paint is my mode of storytelling. The paintings have a life of their own that exists past the initial photo that inspires them. The handling of the paint shows the motion of the arm as it manipulates the brush. The finished work provokes the viewer to find the balance within the duality.