By Angela Romeo
To walk in the shoes of Artist Linda Carmella Sibio would be an artistic journey filled with self –awareness and self-acceptance.
Linda was born in West Virginia. After the death of her father and the institutionalization of her mother, Linda was sent to an orphanage. Drawing became a coping mechanism for her. She attended Ohio University, where she earned her BFA in painting in 1975. While at Ohio State Linda was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. From this beginning the art of Linda Carmella Sibio took fold.
“My disability has affected my work both visually and philosophically. The perceptions I have are that ‘schizophrenia’ is a part of every work I create,” said Linda. “It is from this perspective that I am drawn to the fringes of society and how the fringes affect culture as a whole. My work combines 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 sub-culture 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.”
And while others with a similar disability may have felt defeat Linda saw a bigger picture. Linda uses performance art, painting, sculpture, writing, in short any creative medium, to bring attention to the mentally ill. Art as therapy has been shown to be a powerful tool. Art as social commentary is no less powerful. Linda has shown how powerful art is in both areas.
“When I started my most recent artistic journey, I had just lost my cabin in Echo Park, Los Angeles, had just escaped being in a board and care facility for my disability and had moved to the Joshua Tree area. I adopted four dogs and had a cat. I was on 43 antipsychotic medications which had been given to me at the Glendale Memorial Hospital,” said Linda.
“I was switching between realities, shifting from hallucinations to delusions and hysteria, and was rapidly running the full gamut of symptoms related to schizophrenia. When I wasn’t lying in the sand having panic attacks, I was inside the cabin creating my art. It was in this state I found hidden within me millions of images. These images were intense. At this point I discovered I could control my “symptoms” if I could put them within the context of my art.”
“Using stream of consciousness, I discovered my ideas. They came from simple and complicated sketches that communicated with me, hallucinations, and dreams. I was in an altered state and my brain was operating differently. In this state, I truly discovered my own vision, my own mythology, and visual vocabulary.”
Colliding Worlds Fine Art Gallery will present Double Indemnity, the selected works of artist Linda Carmella Sibio. Double Indemnity opens July 2 with an artist reception July 2 from 5 pm to 8 pm.
Double Indemnity features several large works that reflect the intensity of the artist’s passion as well as her embracing the symptoms of her condition. “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. Television, Internet, video surveillance, and the media continually interrupt our perceptions. 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.”
Ms. Sibio is the recipient of numerous grants and prizes for her artwork and, performance work. She is the founder of Bezerk Productions, a non-profit that, through art, assists those with psychological issues to express themselves. Her work has been shown domestically and internationally. Double Indemnity is part of Bezerk Productions, a 501( c)3 organization. Linda was recently awarded a grant from The Tree of Life Foundation.
The exhibition is open 2 July 2016 at Colliding Worlds Fine Art Gallery, 68-895 Pérez Road, I 13, Cathedral City CA and runs through 16 July 2016. For more information regarding Linda Sibio and Bezerk Productions, visit www.lindasibio.com.