About the Artist

TOM LIEBER AND LILA ROO LIEBER

Tom Lieber

Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1949, artist Tom Lieber received an MFA from the University of Illinois in 1974. Shortly after graduating he relocated to San Francisco to fulfill his affinity with Bay Area painting. In 1975 Lieber was a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts; in 1982 he was selected for the Emerging American Artists’ Exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York curated by Diane Waldman, and was shortly thereafter invited to join Berggruen (FKA John Berggruen Gallery). In 1983 Lieber began making large-scale monotypes with Garner Tullis at Experimental Press. Through Tullis he has met John Walker, Sean Scully, Friedel Dzubas, Helen Frankenthaler, Sam Francis, William Wiley and others. Since the mid-1980s, Tom Lieber's work has been shown and celebrated internationally; it comprises such permanent collections 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. In the 2000 the artist moved to Kauai and has continued painting works largely influenced by the environment of Hawaii. Lieber now divides his time between Los Angeles and Kauai.

Friesen Gallery has represented Tom Lieber for over 25 years, at the start of which Lila Roo was only three-years-old. Lila Roo lives and works on the island of Bequia in the West Indies where she creates sculptures with materials found on the beach, primarily plastic. She collects, braids and binds these materials, both re-purposing and celebrating them. In the same way Buddhists spin prayer wheels, her work emanates good vibrations.

Artist Statement

TOM LIEBER AND LILA ROO LIEBER

Artist Tom Lieber in his studio.

My work is centered on human energy.....experiencing, feeling, receiving, expressing. While in Berkeley California, in the 70's and 80's, I involved myself with different forms of human energetic possibilities......Aikido, Jazz, Psychic Awareness, Wilhelm felt supported in my exploration of these forms for nourishment to paint. My work has been a rich and fulfilling time for me.

Beginning in the 80's with the Pincerlike images of the Guggenheim Exhibition and moving closer and closer, year by year, to center; the paintings exude Lieberness. I found comfort and support, in studying the lives and works of artists Georgio Morandi, Alberto Giacometti, Vincent Van Gogh, Vermeer, James Ensor, Phillip Guston and Alexander Calder.

The point of my new paintings is to project this V-shape, which is a symbol to me of a powerful shape. 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.
— TOM LIEBER


My work is about transformation–transforming materials, transforming energy, and bringing powerful energy into the sculptures I create and share. In the physical realm, my work is made from durable single use plastics between the time they are discarded and before they reach the landfill. I collect and work daily over many years to collect the variety of colors and textures that emerge in my work. Everything that one buys today comes in single use plastic packaging whether you see it or not when you purchase objects/food/building materials/cars.  I braid these plastics and then fuse and melt these broads together to create energetic tapestries of color and texture. 

My pieces take years to make because of this refined collection process, and each one  is one of a kind, as the exact materials may never be found again. I have collected these discarded plastics from around the world and it is likely any given piece can have materials from many countries.

Beyond it’s sheer physicality, my work often relates to the human form in an abstract, energetic sense. My pieces reflect the powerful energy, incarnations and transformations of humanness. I do not directly reference any culture or tradition in my work, but it is informed by my life and experience living alongside people around the world who create art for spiritual purposes. As an artist, your life will inevitably become your art.
— LILA ROO LIEBER