Libbie J. Masterson

California College of Arts and Crafts, BFA. 1995.

Libbie J. Masterson

Libbie Masterson was born to a family of 7 in the late 60’s, in Houston, Texas.  Growing up with 4 brothers and a dislike for ballet class gave her a mind of her own and she set her sights to being an artist.  She spent many years in school, finally achieving a degree in Glass Sculpture from CCAC, Oakland, and then set out to see the world.  

A fascination with light has played a prevalent roll in her study of landscapes, taking her to far reaches of Scandinavia, Antarctica, Africa, Iceland, Alaska, Japan, and much of Western Europe.  This all started with her grandmother, who was a brilliant painter, but was too much of a recluse to show her work.  “Go paint a landscape before dinner”, she used to say, like she was asking her to pick up a gallon of milk. So off she went without giving it much thought.  A creative household was where she grew up, where there was great fun in waiting until someone went out of town to paint the walls while they were gone.

Masterson is a bit restless and enjoys working in many different media and genres ranging from photography, sculpture, installation, and set design. Her interest in photography began accidentally while painting on extensive travels through Norway, Iceland, Alaska, and Antarctica.

These journeys first inspired the series Ís (Ice).  Large-scale photographs, illuminated with light panels, some 70 feet in length, 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 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, Masterson received 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 a 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 the Park and on the Tsunami that struck Japan in March, 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 full of 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.  She is currently working on a new body of work titled Spectrum.  It explores the relationship between the visual and aural spectrums. It is a series of Glass mosaics, each based on a singular color of the spectrum, accompanied by a short piece of music composed by Masterson, that is written in the key that corresponds with that color of the spectrum. She is represented by Nancy Littlejohn Fine Art in Houston, where she lives and keeps her studio in a secret garden.