I recently interviewed Liberti in connection with the show of his work on view at the John Natsoulas Gallery in Davis, California.
John Seed Interviews Chris Liberti:
CL: Jim Phelan was a big influence. When I studied with him at Buffalo State College in 1995-6 he introduced me to the work of Richard Diebenkorn and Frank Auerbach, who both became very important to me. Jim is a "painter's painter" who let me do my own thing. His goal was to get each of his students on the path they wanted to be on. He never painted in front of us or showed his own work: that was important. He didn't want us to be too distracted by what he was doing.
CL: It's kind of been a struggle between abstract and representational. I don't want to lock myself in to being one or the other. I think of abstract as free: there is more looking involved, more than looking at what was being painted. Also, I like working with the negative space around an object more than working with the thing itself.
CL: I have a problem on deciding when things are finished. I constantly work over things and am never truly happy. For example, the painting 148 Across was started in 2008, and then I worked on it again recently.
CL: Physicality: that's what I enjoy the most.
CL: If I can get into a piece and get into that zone, someone else will feel that same way. I'm not looking for a specific feeling. I hope others can as well.
Chris Liberti: California etc.
March 11 - April 11, 2015
John Natsoulas Gallery
521 First Street Davis, CA 95616