Staff Show 2014: Nancy Libson

In this series, we profile participants in the 2014 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show.

Nancy Lisbon, Untitled #7, 2014, photograph

Nancy Libson, Untitled #7, 2014, photograph

What do you do at The Phillips Collection?  Are there any unique/interesting parts about your job that most people might not know about?

I’m a Gallery Educator. I really enjoy learning about the artists in the permanent collection and special exhibitions, preparing, and then leading tours. I find this process such a great and fun way to learn. I also love talking about art and hearing what visitors have to say on the tours. The art inspires me. I feel very connected to the work as I walk around the galleries and I often get ideas for photo projects and teaching projects (I teach art and photography as well outside of the Phillips).

Who is/are your favorite artist/artists in the collection?

I don’t really have one favorite artist… I have many.  I have learned a lot from Jacob Lawrence and his Migration Series since his work relates to what I do as a photographer. My work is mostly documentary and still photography, and often an artist can teach me a lot by really getting to know their work. I have come to know the Migration Series quite well and feel a connection to Jacob Lawrence’s journey on many levels!

What would you like people to know about your artwork on view in the Staff Show (or your work in general)?

I love to photograph people and places. This photo is a part of a series.

Where else have you exhibited your work?

My photography has been exhibited nationally, internationally and in private collections, including The Library of Congress. I’ve had solo exhibits at the Harvard University Fogg Art Museum and Arlington Arts Center and group exhibits at The Embassy of Japan and Galerie Benezet in Avignon, France. I’ve worked as a freelance photographer for the National Geographic Traveler and a variety of non-profit agencies.

The 2014 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show will be on view December 16, 2014 through January 19, 2015. The show features artwork from Phillips Collection staff.

If You Take A Closer Look…

franz marc

Franz Marc, Deer in the Forest I, 1913. Oil on canvas, 39 3/4 x 41 1/4 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Gift from the estate of Katherine S. Dreier, 1953

If you happen to walk through the Music Room, take a look to your right on the way to the staircase. There by the elevator hangs one of my favorite works in The Phillips Collection, Deer in the Forest I (1913). The artist, Franz Marc, combines cubism and symbolism in this painting, creating a dynamic landscape filled with vibrant colors and bold lines. One of the main reasons I love this painting so much (besides the adorable cubist deer!) is because of the symbolic way Marc used color. Franz Marc always used color to tell a story, or to represent a feeling in his works instead of just recreating the physical reality of his subjects. It is known also that Marc assigned certain characteristics to each color that he used. Blue was the color Marc used to represent masculinity and spirituality, yellow he identified as feminine and joyful, and red symbolized either serious undertones or violence. By knowing the symbolism in Franz Marc’s use of color, Deer in the Forest I takes on new meaning. The foreground of the painting is dominated by the yellow deer themselves and the green of their surroundings, evoking a sense of security and contentment. But the red splashed over the background looms above the deer, hinting, perhaps, at the danger and violence that lurks outside of their peaceful forest home.

Read more about this work on our website.

Veronica Parker, Director’s Office Intern

Director’s Desk: Dispatch From Seoul

Olafur Eliasson Seoul

Olafur Eliasson installation at Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art in Seoul. Magnificent transformation of a staircase with the magic of light and mirrors causing poetic and mind bending reflections. Meanwhile, across town, our brilliant Phillips Collection exhibition Ingres to Kandinsky at the Seoul Arts Center.