Dibble’s work reflects loss, artist’s growth

MIDDLEBURY — Edgewater Gallery in Middlebury will host Anna Dibble’s upcoming compelling and very personal exhibit, “Lest Our Vine End (L.O.V.E.)” The September exhibit includes an opening reception on Friday, Sept. 11, from 5-7 p.m., and an artist talk titled “Crossing Places” on Saturday, Sept. 12, from 3-5 p.m.
The direct result of a stretch of loss and change, Dibble’s new body of work reflects how she had to lose herself in her painting in order to find herself once again. After the death of her husband, her dog and her mother, Dibble chose to downsize her home, her workspace and her belongings. This led to a migration from working in oil-based to water-based mediums and at the same time she also felt she needed to search out a new way of working.
“The grieving, which often seemed like an outside force that continually attacked like an emotional terrorist, erased clarity and inspiration,” Dibble said. “There was nothing I could do to speed up the grieving process and get to the elusive ‘other side.’” At some point, she had to accept that the grieving for the two most important people in her life was going to go on for very long time and that she would have to reinvent her method and “paint into the pain with hopes I could paint my way out of the pain.”
What emerged is quite possibly her best work, yet. Two related series, one figurative, one abstract, which tell the story of loss, love, change, hope and healing. Dibble titled the show “Lest Our Vine End (L.O.V.E.)” because these paintings come from her love for her husband, mother, and dog, as well as from the loss of them.
“The reason losing people and dogs to death is so painful is only because of love. We have to pay for love in the end.” But also, out of loss, so too, can art come.
“My current work comes from a new crossing place,” Dibble says. “It is a search, a walkabout, the beginning of the odyssey that’s the last slice of my life. All kinds of interests come into this lifeboat: the strangeness of human existence, natural and art history, on being lost after losing, more questions than answers, a lifetime library of objects, visual and emotional memories, pain, joy, and wonder. It’s a shuffle and an excavation, and a hope. I start with experience, and try to follow the materials with a non-thinking attitude.
“A learning approach towards a real sense of things. Natural forms, man-made forms and line, composition, color, and black and white. Portrait, landscape, still life, abstraction. This process is like other parts of life, following the thread that doesn’t go in an easy or straight line. Layering, adding, subtracting. It’s a continuous experiment. The finish point of a piece is only one of many. It is more of an exit than an ending. It is a daily challenge. I am a lucky person.”
During her Sept. 12 talk, Dibble will use her own, and a few other painters’, experiences as a launching point to talk about transitions, and the strong connection between artists’ lives and the process of making their work. Everyone longs to get their narratives straight, and artists actively work towards that elusive goal, usually in a metaphorical way. Dibble will talk about how making art is both a search for self and a method for losing one’s, often tiring, conscious self.

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