Sybil Gibson

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Art from Within
May 10 – June 21, 2014
Woodward Gallery

The Estate of Sybil Gibson is represented by Woodward Gallery. The exhibition Sybil Gibson: Art From Within incorporates never- before- seen works. Gibson’s enduring legacy is preserved in museums throughout the country with great examples of naive portraits, gentle landscapes, colorful floral arrangements and the passionate soul of this eccentric personality.

Sybil Gibson (February 18, 1908 – January 2, 1995) was born in Dora, Alabama to a wealthy coal mine operator and farm owner; despite her prosperous upbringing she spent most of her adult life in poverty. Now in 2014, Gibson is regarded as one of the leading female folk artists from Alabama.

Gibson gave into her impulse to draw, paint and record later in life after working as an educator. Making due with little means, Gibson often expressed that art had to come from within.
She recorded her childhood memories knowing that each viewer could relate. Her soulful, mesmerizing works speak for themselves and reach out to touch the viewer’s consciousness. Gibson used brown bags, scraps of paper, newsprint, and cardboard. She would wet and flatten the surface of these papers to prepare for her original watercolor/gouache/ tempera technique. As she waited for the paper and paint to dry on one painting, Gibson would satiate her spontaneous expression on additional surfaces: “I just go from one brushstroke to another and I do it fast…as soon as the idea comes I use it real quick,” she would say.

Sybil Gibson, seized by a compulsion to paint over three decades, grew out of touch from family and friends. She sought escape from daily realities and responsibilities with a pure commitment to her art: “Painting is my happiness.”

Sybil Gibson’s art is featured in permanent collections such as: The Museum of Art, Alabama; The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Alabama; The Miami Museum of Modern Art, Florida; The New Orleans Museum of Art in Louisiana; The Museum of American Folk Art, New York; The Brooklyn Museum, New York, and The New State Historical Society.

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