McKibbin’s landscapes, for all their integrity, the truth of the scenes, and the mastery of her marks become not a mirror on nature, but the pause at the bottom of an out-breath, the rest between nature’s systole and diastole. It is for this reason the viewer enjoys her work. To stand in front of a McKibbin is to be reminded that places of quiet, exceptional beauty still exist, even abound, and many of them are just outside our door. The poet, Mary Oliver, has made a career out of asking us to open our eyes, narrow our focus, above all to pay attention, gently showing us the way with a smattering of words. McKibbin does the same thing in her western art, with a handful of chalk, and in the process we become more alive, learning that our lives somehow depend on that field of flowers, that falling down barn, that dusty dirt road, all caught and rendered so carefully, so lovingly, in the cross hairs of light and shade, the composting now.
~ Charles Finn is a freelance writer and woodworker, building one-room cabins. His writings have appeared in Big Sky Journal, Montana Quarterly, Montana Magazine and High Country News, among others. He lives in Stevensville with his wife, Joyce Mphande-Finn, and his cat, 42.