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Following a degree in the History of Art and English at the University of York, Ibby spent three years training to be an easel paintings’ conservator at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Since graduating in 2004 she has worked as both an artist and a researcher into paintings and collections. Her work has led to a deep interest in the history of making, and in the human relationship with materials and the natural world in the creation of art and telling of stories. She is intrigued by early natural history collections, and fascinated by the parallels and paradoxes of the role of the artist then, in their depiction of newly discovered natural ‘rarities’, and the role of the artist today as the realities of climate change and nature depletion become ever more apparent.
Applying her knowledge of traditional materials and techniques in her own arts practice she has extensively used drawing as a means of knowing and understanding the land and life around her, exploring themes of species loss and interdependence. The transcribing of these beings into the pictorial, through an intensity of observation, becomes an act both of recognition and remembrance. The use of gesso on oak, the traditional method of panel preparation once used for altarpieces, lends a material validity to the forgotten and the fragile. The gesso also enables a comprehensive exploration of technique and depth, with lines both drawn and incised – a literal and physical underscoring of the subjects depicted.