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Finlandia University Gallery presents Libby VanderPloeg: Sharp Edges

July 24, 2018


Libby VanderPloeg

Photo credit: Leigh Ann Cobb Photography www.leighanncobb.com.

Finlandia University Gallery will present the work of artist and illustrator Libby VanderPloeg. Sharp Edges, an exhibit featuring mixed-media paintings, animations and digital illustrations will be on display at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center from July 26 to September 6, 2018.

A closing reception for the public will take place at the gallery on Thursday, September 6, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. with an artist talk beginning at 7:20 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

About Libby VanderPloeg

Libby VanderPloeg is a Michigan-based artist and illustrator. Her mixed-media paintings, animations and digital illustrations drift between art, pop and meme culture, exploring her relationship to feminism, activism, aesthetic ideals and day dreamy pursuits of happiness. Using a variety of media and approaches for both self-directed and commercial work, VanderPloeg creates imaginative vignettes that combine her love of drawing and painting with her appreciation of and adherence to structured design.

VanderPloeg worked in art and design for Saveur magazine and Conde Nast in New York City before recently relocating to Grand Rapids to work as a full-time freelance illustrator. She has created work for the New York Times, Netflix, Huffington Post, Glamour France and other media outlets.

Her work in animated gifs (illustrations with a motion-based element to them) has led to a new avenue of expression for VanderPloeg. Her gifs often reference the news of the day, politics, the #metoo movement and empowerment, combining humor with a poignant message.

VanderPloeg considers herself a feminist and expresses this in her work.

“I owe so much of my quality of life to those individuals who fought hard to give women a voice in the arts, politics, and culture, and I believe in showing respect for those who work to make your life better,” said VanderPloeg. “Greater equality for women didn’t just appear out of thin air. It was born of persistence and a belief in the plausibility of change, and that can’t be taken for granted.”

“One of my big goals as an illustrator is to inspire young women to be smart, dream big, and pursue their goals,” said VanderPloeg, whose animated work for International Women’s Day went viral on social media. “So, I create a lot of work that puts women at the front, leading with confidence.”

VanderPloeg is a storyteller, illustrating moments in our contemporary society that call for reflection.

“You have to be patient and attentive if you want someone to share a glimpse of their life with you,” said VanderPloeg of her creative process. “The next part is perhaps more important though: empathy—which is about listening, reading visual queues and reflection. If you move through your world with these ideas in mind, you’ll start to see your life in a broader context, which will give you something interesting to think about and potentially share. At the end of the day, I think I really just want to say something that makes people smile, or just feel a little pang of something.”

VanderPloeg received a BFA in Sculpture from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has had many solo exhibits in Brooklyn, New York and has participated in group exhibitions and installations in New York and abroad, including a 2018 exhibit at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Libby VanderPloeg’s work can be seen at the following web locations:

Website – libbyvanderploeg.com
Instagram – @libbyvanderploeg
Twitter – @libvanderploeg
Tumblr – libbyvanderploeg.tumblr.com


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