Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Tom Lieber and Lila Roo Share History-Making ‘Lineage’
Tom Lieber’s “On Shore” can be seen at Friesen Gallery in Ketchum.
Thursday, December 27, 2018


Lila Roo Lieber was only 3 years old when her famous artist father Tom Lieber had his first exhibition at Friesen Gallery more than 25 years ago.

It wasn’t too long after Andria Friesen had opened her gallery 32 years ago this week.

Now Friesen Gallery is showcasing a history-making exhibition, curating the first two-person exhibition for father and daughter.

Lila Roo Lieber’s wall sculptures include a 108-inch “Long Net” and these two sculptures that look like ceremonial artifacts.

“Lineage” features the abstract paintings of internationally recognized artist Tom Lieber and large-scale sculptures created by his daughter Lila Roo Lieber.

Tom Lieber, who just spent Christmas with his daughter at her Caribbean Island home, will be present for the Christmas Gallery Walk from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 28, at Friesen Gallery, 320 1st Ave. N. in Ketchum. Unfortunately, Lila Roo won’t be in attendance, as she’s about to have a baby.

“So she could be furthering the ‘lineage,’ ” said Yana Lantz, one of the representatives at Friesen Gallery.

Both father and daughter dote on energy in their artwork. But they approach their creativity in completely different fashion.

Lila Roo creates wall sculptures and nets from plastic and other found objects that wash up on beaches of Hawaii and the Caribbean and even along rivers such as the Colorado River as it flows through the Grand Canyon.

Tom, who lives in Hawaii, has made his mark as a painter with oil on canvas for more than 40 years, pursuing distinct contrasts with vigorous black lines overlaid with ochre and red.

“He’s a big deal,” said Lantz, noting how his works are in the permanent collections of such galleries as the Guggenheim Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the Tate Gallery in London.

Tom Lieber’s latest contemplative and emotive paintings project a V-shape which, he says, are a symbol of a powerful shape and can be tied to his interest in reiki, aikido and meditation, all of which channel the body’s energy.

They also can be seen as symbolizing the lower torso—the body’s center of gravity.

“It’s come out of my work with the human figure and the lower torso shape, and it’s an honoring of the female and the power of the human center,” said the St. Louis, Mo., native.

Lila Roo, who lives and works on the island of Bequia in the West Indies, rarely starts out with an end product in mind. Rather, she just starts touching her material, ripping it and then braiding it as she repurposes it.

She has spent hours braiding for the wall sculptures that represent cultural artifacts hanging in Friesen Gallery. She says her works are designed to emanate good vibrations in the same way that Buddhists spin prayer wheels.

“She hasn’t dyed the plastic. All the colors are original,” said Yantz. “In a world piling with garbage, she is repurposing trash to make beauty and emanate good vibes.”

In addition to creating wall sculptures, Lila Roo has created capes with fringes of plastic and headdresses that appear to be made of feathers but are actually plastic refuse for dance performances.

One of those was the subject of a 2010 TEDxGreatPacific GarbagePatch dance performance, which featured her wearing yellow plastic hair and her arm wrapped in pink fringes as she held wings made of plastic . She also wore a braided plastic headdress and breastplates of curled braids of plastic, as beads of plastic ran down her cheeks and leg.

“It was,” she said, “A powerful metaphor of life wrapped in plastic.”


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