Libby Bove is a multidisciplinary artist based in North Somerset. An unconventional home-school upbringing and an early adult life submerged in D.I.Y. culture, have helped to shape her eclectic creative practice. Bove’s artist’s practice began to form when she became a member of the Emporium collective in Bristol in 2009. Her involvement in this independent gallery lead to her first exhibition ‘Feeling Peculiar’ 2010, which was a group exhibition of mixed media work, shared with her now long-time collaborator, Mads Mordigan. In 2011, Bove, Mordigan, and several other creatives went on the form Standard & co where they specialised in puppetry, scenic design, and construction. Standard & co continue to work together, under the name Hells Pigeons Puppetry. 2011 also saw the creation of Cirque du Flop, a surreal and chaotic performance piece in which Bove took a leading role in its creative development. Currently, Bove is studying for a BA in Creative Arts Practice at Bath Spa University, where she specialises in sculpture. In March 2022 she opened her first solo show, entitled ‘The Oracles’, and is a winner of the Porthleven prize.
Libby Bove (2021-2022) The Museum of Roadside Magic [Installation] 119cm (w) x 183cm (h) x 40cm (d)
Libby Bove (2021) The Oracles [Various sculptures, a deck of cards and a book] Variable dimensions.
My work draws influence from folklore, theatre, nature, and the occult. Through my practice, I explore storytelling, world-building, and archetypes, often accompanied by slippage of the status quo. I’m fascinated by the relationship between the practical and the emotional, and how these seemingly opposing forces can work harmoniously. By creating narratives my intention is to spark conversations and sow the seeds for stories yet to be told. For me, the magic is in the process, working mainly in ceramics, costume, and monoprint. I enjoy working in media that allows for spontaneity, which is also mirrored in the more performative aspects of my work which explore puppetry and film. Underpinning my practice is my interest in both historical and contemporary folk culture, I feel as if there is great importance in preserving folk traditions, shared knowledge, and customs, as they can act as anchors to the land, and each other, in these turbulent times.
The Museum of Roadside Magic is an exploration into an imagined reality where the persecution of witches and cunning folk never took place. If history had taken this route, then our modern day might look very different, with herbal medicine, intention, and spirituality forming part of everyday life, ingrained in the mundane and the practical. There would be no reason why the mechanic who comes to your aid in a breakdown, would also be versed in shamanic practices, herb knowledge, and other unknown magic. By inviting the viewer to imagine a reality where the natural world and the spiritual are deeply ingrained into the everyday, I hope to offer a different perspective and question how these elements are given value in our own reality.
The Oracles is a semi-autobiographical work, realised through the mediums of ceramics, print, and cartomancy. They represent experiences, places, and moments. They are personal to me but are also yours for interpretation. I invite you to consult the oracles for yourselves. Take your time and sit with the cards. shuffle them. split them. writhe around in them if you wish. The Oracles can be used to give insight, spark inspiration, or simply to tell a story. I hope you enjoy the journey.