Los Angeles, CA | Painting & Mixed Media
Linda Carmella Sibio began her career in 1975 while having a loft in Manhattan where she maintained her studio. Notable moments include working in Andy Warhol’s Factory and having such prestigious artists as Al Loving, David Diah, and Frank Stella visit her for studio critique. During this time she was in several small group shows and was interviewed by the editor of Art Forum magazine. Ms. Sibio created many large scale paintings and drawings where the themes were monsters and garbage (or found objects).
In 1985, Sibio took the bus to Hollywood without a penny in her pocket. From there she worked with such prestigious teachers and artists as Eric Morris, Rachel Rosenthal and John Malpede. At one point she was teaching a workshop on skid row called “Los Angeles Poverty Department” (homeless ensemble) and studying and performing with Tim Robbins and his group The Actor’s Gang. A large achievement during this time was an interdisciplinary work called “Condo at Thieves” corner, which attracted an audience of 2,000 homeless and art seekers.
During the nineties she did solo interdisciplinary works shown at The Walker Art Center, with Creative Time and Franklin Furnace, at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions and other venues. She also began getting large grants including several Cultural Affairs grants, The Rockefeller MAP award, and The Lannan Foundation Award. Her pieces were entitled “W.Va. Schizophrenic Blues”, “Azalea Trash”, “Apartment 409”, “Hallelujah I’m Dead!”, “Suicidal Particles and ‘Energy and Light’ and Their Relationship to Suicide.” During this period she directed a project “Operation Hammer” and did interdisciplinary works with mentally disabled from Skid Row. The issues dealt with included homelessness, mental illness, prostitution, gang violence, serial homicides and suicide.
From 1997-2001 Sibio started her painting series “The Insanity Principle.” She moved to the Hi-Desert area of California and performed and directed with a group she developed called “The Cracked Eggs.” She received the California Arts Council grant twice for her work with the mentally disabled. Her series the Insanity Principle has toured at the following venues: Andrew Edlin Gallery (representative), The United Nations, The Kennedy Center, The Armory, Track 16, Scope LA, Brussels Art Fair and others. In 2008 she received the international award for the visual arts called “Wynn Newhouse Award”. Later that same year she had to discontinue “The Cracked Eggs” project due to the diagnosis of a serious chronic illness. It was during the worst period of this illness when she was near death that Sibio designed a show called “The Economics of Suffering.” This show is about how the economic decline effected the oppressed population and is scheduled to be shown at her gallery with “Andrew Edlin” in 2018. Ms. Sibio did survive that low point in her illness even though she still has the illness. In 2015 Sibio received the Emergency Fund from Foundation for Contemporary Art for her evening that included “Human-Pig Hybrid” (a performance) and “Schizophrenic Brain Trust” (visual art show which lasted one month from Jan. 15 – Feb. 15).
Of some note: Ms. Sibio received a government grant (from 2010-present) to open an “art business.” Her business is around fashion/textile design. SIBIO also does continuing educational workshops on the issues of madness and creativity.
Since 1985, I have worked in various media including painting, installation, and performance art. In 1985, I assisted in starting The Los Angeles Poverty Department (a homeless performance art troupe on Skid Row in Los Angeles, CA). During that year, I started working with the homeless mentally ill, which affected my work for the following 20 years.
I am very much interested in the fringe of society and how that affects culture as a whole. I have combined strong social issues such as homelessness, mental illness, suicide, mass murder, gangs, drug addiction, and prostitution with progressive elements in design and form, thus creating my own subculture language. Madness has been a dominant theme in my work, having been influenced by my own diagnosis as schizophrenic and my mother’s incarceration in mental hospitals for 15 years during my childhood.
My philosophy was developed through a combination of personal experience and intellectual pursuits. My perceptions were influenced by Marcel Duchamp’s book The Bride Stripped Bare by the Bachelor’s Even, Foucault’s Madness and Civilization, Theater and It’s Double by Antonin Artaud, and Anti-Oedipus by Deleuze and Gautier. Visually, the design elements in my work are developed from looking at Medieval manuscript paintings, Mayan hieroglyphs, Hieronymus Bosch, and Van Gogh.
Although my visual art training stems from an academic background, I have replaced these design techniques with that from my research into the perceptions of the insane. I have taken “symptoms” of insanity and transposed them into techniques for making experimental art. These methods include fragmentation, interrupters, non-linear time sequencing, multiple layers of images and stories, dismemberment, psychological torture, broadcasting, delusions, and hallucinations. These techniques have led to work where there are layers and layers of images leading to an epic effect.
Through teaching mentally disabled persons, I create a microcosm or a subculture against which the voice of social consciousness, politics, philosophy, and visual art can be explored. In this exploration, I recognized the need to integrate madness into my core thinking. It is through this that I am able to function in the context of a fragmented world.
My philosophical stance includes the modern day ostracizing of the insane from a productive society. In ancient times, the insane were looked to for insights and guidance. Today they clean dishes and bus tables. We can learn a lot about our society and culture by how the mentally different are treated. As we dispose of human beings, we go toward a disposable culture.
The fragmented thinking of the schizophrenic is actually a window into the placement of our culture. We are all living in a deconstructed world, no longer thinking linear thoughts. Our perceptions are continually interrupted by television, Internet, video surveillance, and the media. We no longer have single, isolated thoughts. We think in a multi-layered complex pattern. In order for our culture to go forward, the darkness of the dismembered body needs to come into the light. We need to fragment in order to become whole again.
Mixed media and performance