Born to a family of empaths in Brooklyn, Roe LiBretto studied drawing, painting, and design, at the Brooklyn Museum, the School of Visual Arts, and City College of New York. She had some lengthy gigs with publications: Newsweek; Scholastic, Inc.; Careers and Colleges, and spent a few years customizing motorcycles on the then-not-so-hip lower east side of New York City. Roe exhibited abstract drawings and sculptures in juried gallery shows in: New York City; Paris, France; Brooklyn, New York; and Pittsfield, Massachusetts between 1974 and 1984. During that time she received commissions, from the New York City Cultural Council and the Massachusetts State Council on the Arts, to create public kinetic installations. In 1985 Roe took a hiatus from exhibiting and began the Fool’s Journey. In 1992, she migrated to New Mexico and co-founded a publication design company: NoBul Graphics. After seven successful years, a mind altering/altaring car accident precipitated selling her business, taking a straight job for the man, and noodling in metaphysics. Encouraged by collectors of her work and by her son, LGBTQ fantasy writer and illustrator Ywain Penbrydd, Roe now creates and exhibits allegorical paintings internationally. The Fool’s Journey is a metaphor, used in the teaching of tarot, depicting key events on the path to enlightenment. Each of us is a Fool* on our journey through life, yet we often fail to recognize the import of smaller life events, or scenarios, that might hasten our spiritual and material growth. In such cases, we’re burdened by our ignorance and destined to repeat the scenario until we figure it out. The work that passes through me becomes visual reminders of these universal scenarios. It bubbles from the cosmic consciousness; that from which Gustave Dore’s Inferno illustrations and William Blake’s visions flowed. It manifests as movement at the edge of my sight, or as a phrase-spinning hip hop DJ. The imagery comes in grainy texture, like a poorly received TV broadcast. It’s as distorted as our century, as The Scream was in Munch’s time, but with a grain of salt. Leo Rosten, American film noir screenwriter and humorist, said, “Humor is the affectionate communication of insight.” I think the cosmic consciousness is hip to that. I don’t always understand the work that comes, but I recognize the importance of recording and sharing it. Each piece contains a story with the ability to transmute lead for someone, bringing them one realization closer to their personal enlightenment. Knowing this makes me one happy little Fool.
- Jacque Lynn
- Ruth Stanford