Linda Sibio (2016)

Linda Sibio

Linda Sibio received a Tree of Life Individual Artist Grant in 2016 for the Economics of Suffering.


In 1975, Sibio earned a BFA in painting from Ohio University. That same year, she moved to New York City where she lived and worked on painting and drawing from 1975 to 1985. From 1980 to 1982, she went to FIT on a scholarship for textile design. In 1985, she decided to add performance art to her visual work and relocated to Los Angeles, where she worked and studied with artist Rachel Rosenthal through 1989. Sibio had exhibitions at the Walker Art Center (Out There Series twice), Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, The Kennedy Center, United Nations, Andrew Edlin Gallery, The Anchorage with Creative Time, and Franklin Furnace. She was the recipient of twenty-five grants and awards most recently the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in New York City (emergency fund), VSA Fellowship, Wynn Newhouse, Lannan Foundation grant, California Arts Council awards, three Cultural Affairs grants from Los Angeles, Art Matters Award, Rockefeller MAP award, Franklin Furnace Fund, and others. Sibio's work, since 1985, deals with social issues such as mental disability, homelessness, and drug addiction.

Project Description

Economics of Suffering is a project that combines visual and performance art to explore the devastating and intense emotional scarring caused by the ongoing worldwide financial crisis that peaked in the period between 2007 and 2010. The work explores the psychological ruptures wreaked on those most vulnerable—the mentally disabled, the elderly, those in extreme poverty, and other disenfranchised populations suffering from homelessness, hunger, and violence. The avarice of multinational corporations, cuts in government aid, and an unjust judicial system have only served to exacerbate the levels of suffering of the poor and disabled.

I use vivid primal energy in my visual and performance work to express the physical and emotional fracturing that economic suffering causes. Images of rape and dismemberment symbolize the tearing apart of culture, of families, and of the very psyches of those at the bottommost rungs of the economic ladder. Large figures in the paintings are surrounded by and circulate with arteries and veins of nearly microscopic glyph-like figures. These rivers of figures seem to cut and sever the landscape of the body like fracturing highways.

This piece is my first MAJOR artwork since 2006 (I was ill from 2007 to 2012). I did a small project called Melody of Chaos at Highways in Santa Monica to get my feet wet again in the art world. I think that project (Supported by FCA and Bezerk Productions) started the process of my re-introduction to the national arts community. It is my hope that Economics of Suffering will continue this trend with the added desire to tour it in Europe.