Glittery Chaos

Beautiful Disaster

In the three years since artist Tania Dibbs last launched a pop-up exhibition of her ethereal landscapes, our environs—both the planet’s and Aspen’s—have evolved at what some bemoan is a disturbing rate.

By Amanda Rae February 1, 2015 Published in the Midwinter/Spring 2015 issue of Aspen Sojourner

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So it’s telling that Dibbs’s new solo show, Anthropocene, twenty oil and acrylic works exploring the discord of humankind’s fantastic achievements at the expense of our ecosystem, takes residence on Hopkins Avenue in the ousted Ute City Restaurant space, a recent casualty of Aspen’s survival-of-the-fattest-wallet real estate environment.

A former biology student and abiding steward of Mother Earth, Dibbs has changed, too. “You can’t open the newspaper without feeling a sense of dread about seeing another picture of a polar bear on a speck of ice. Or pollution levels in China so high that people can’t go outside,” she explains. “In this day and age, it seems irrelevant to paint a pretty landscape.”

Yet Dibbs ( does just that—before sabotaging her large, fully developed canvases with craggy grids, frenetic geometry, and rippling forms that imply sinister Superfund sites and slithering urban sprawl.

Also, they twinkle. “Glitter references the sparkly, fabulous culture that is obscuring our natural environment,” the artist says. “It’s unprecedented. It took my art a while to catch up with my social alignment.”

One envisions her indignation when viewing Fiasco, a frenzied, devil-red and black spirograph obscuring a blushing sunset. An ominous foreboding is front-and-center in Glitterverse, in which sparkling, blue ombre dendrites lurch skyward as if to choke lazy clouds.

Ultimately, Anthropocene, on view through March, is paradoxical in that it’s rooted both in our collective lust for unspoiled beauty and greed toward change. “It’s kind of painful yet exciting to ruin it,” Dibbs quips of her annihilated originals. The mountain-town double entendre isn’t lost on her. “It’s reflective of our situation: How could we?”

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