Enter a landscape of symbolism and allegory, vivid colours and evocative compositions. Echoing Marc Chagall, Rauschenberg’s Combines, and Rouault, Norman LaLiberté first captured the world’s attention almost a generation ago after serving as the design consultant for the Vatican Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair in 1964. Indeed, the eighty-eight large banners that filled the glass walled space marked the beginning of a series of large scale installation projects that both shaped and defined the artist’s iconic career. Other major public endeavours soon followed, including banners for the 25th Anniversary of the Chicago Lyric Opera, aluminum panels for the International Terminal at Logan Airport, and large scale projects for the New York State Bar Association, Standard Oil, IBM and Alcan Corporation.
Born in Massachusetts and raised in Montreal, LaLiberté exhibited his first works at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts after completing his education at the prestigious Institute of Design in Chicago, where teachers included Buckminster Fuller, Gropius, and Mies Van der Rohe.He received a Doctorate in Fine Arts from Notre Dame University and an Honorary Doctorate from McGill University.
His unique form of abstract expressionism serves as a potent anti-depressant – animals, flowers, and often sensual figures instill viewers with uplifting feelings of joie de vivre. It’s not difficult to understand why LaLiberté’s art has been on the covers of both Life and Time, as well as in both private and public collections including the Smithsonian Institute, Citicorp, the Institute of Contemporary Art in New York, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection, and the Detroit Institute of Contemporary Art.
LaLiberté can also count teaching, painting, and illustrating among his formidable skill sets. He has written, designed,or illustrated some 35 books, exhibited at over 300 one-man shows in the US and Canada, and taught at the Kansas City Art Institute, Boston College, Notre Dame, and the Rhode Island School of Design. In addition, the National Film Board of Canada produced a documentary about him. Ever prolific, the artist lives in Nahant, Massachusetts where he continues to mesmerize audiences with innovative and technologically advanced mediums that remain true to his independent spirit. Written by Kristian LaLiberté, Senior Editor, Refinery29