Libbie Masterson is endlessly curious and enjoys working in many different media ranging from photography, glass, sculpture, installation, and set design. A fascination with light and its role in shaping our experience of our environment has played a recurring role in her study of landscapes, taking her to far reaches of Scandinavia, Antarctica, Africa, Iceland, Alaska, Japan, and much of Western Europe.
Her interest in photography began accidentally while documenting painting locations in these travels. These journeys first inspired the series Ís (Ice). Large-scale photographs, illuminated with light panels, some 70 feet in length, which have been exhibited at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, the Barbara Davis Gallery, Houston the Houston Arts Alliance and the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston. They were also the inspiration for a stage set for the Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre and the Sarasota Ballet, The Mozart Trilogy, performed in Houston, Dallas, New York and Tokyo.
In 2009, with an Individual Artists Grant from the Houston Arts Alliance, and ventured to West Texas to develop a nighttime photographic essay of the Mars-like landscapes found there. She continued this series in France, with a Brown Foundation Fellowship awarded by the MFAH, with a residency at the Dora Maar House in Menérbes. This series was adapted for the creation of her second ballet set design for Dominic Walsh, Claudel. In the Spring of 2013, with the help of a crowd of volunteers and a Kickstarter campaign, she created a temporary site-specific installation in Hermann Park, Houston, of large floating waterlilies that lit up at night. This ran in concurrence with designing a set for the Houston Grand Opera, HGOco. Titled Memory Stone, the opera is based on the Japanese Garden in that same Park and on the Tsunami that struck Japan in March of 2011. In 2014, in collaboration with filmmaker Ford Gunter, Masterson was commissioned by the Houston Symphony to create a video accompaniment to Karim Al-Zand’s City Scenes, performed at Jones Hall, Houston. 2015 was busy with a large commission by Southwest Airlines for the new Hobby Airport International Wing. With her team she constructed a large glass mosaic, 36 feet in length. Her work in glass continued with a series Spectrum, exploring the relationship between the visual and aural spectrums, using Glass mosaics based on colors of the spectrum. The pieces are accompanied by short compositions arranged and performed by ROCO of Houston.
When the Covid became such a presence, the shutdown prompted the series Family Portrait. It is inspired by the temperamental lighting of the Dutch Masters and includes members of an extensive and often eccentric family, experienced in a new way through the quarantine “bubble.” It re-kindled a love of the delicacies of evening light and inspired new chapter, Twilight, in evening imagery. This work is still evolving, bringing the focus back to a meditative experience found in the study of landscape. She lives and works in Houston, where she keeps her studio in a secret garden.