The Truths of Edna Hibel
Positive Humanism: A philosophy or art which derives its form from emotions arising out of contemplation of the world, people and their activities by a heart and mind concerned with the experience of Love and Beauty.
If the art of Edna Hibel could be summed up in two words, “Positive Humanism” is as close as we can come to doing so. We believe that the following discourse is consistent with the above.
Values and moralities pervade her art. She is an advocate of civil society which can only be realized by a citizenry that is responsible and recognizes its obligations to one another: a citizenry that is caring and acts with empathy and respect for the dignity of its fellow citizens.
Edna Hibel believes in virtue: high on the list is the virtue of accepting with equanimity the responsibility for facing up to those burdens that life proffers. The joys of parenting cannot he realized without accepting the caring for and the nurturing of the children. Observe the serenity with which her mothers carry their children and babies and the resulting calm of the children. They are all embraced by an inner peace. The mothers seem to know instinctively where lies the better life.
This same inner peace can be seen in the attitudes and expressions of the people in her paintings of farmers working in the fields. There is no hint of weariness or resentment; only what might be called dedication to the tasks at hand and satisfaction with the results and with the fact that they were allotted such an important assignment in life.
These are the ingredients for a true democratic society in which all individuals can reach their full potential and live lives of excellence, grace and beauty in harmony with their fellow citizens.
She is able to express this feeling of freedom through responsibility and empathy because of her mastery and love of her media which allows her to work with abandon and joie de vivre.. Her subjects become infused with her delight in painting for its own sake. Remember, human beings are the only animals who laugh. To human is to experience joy.
Hibel’s art is the expression of her emotions, her spirit, and so becomes a philosophy which has an immediacy that communicates values and moralities beyond works. Values and moralities are the unconscious memory of a society and culture that make continuity possible. They give a society a sense of historic purpose and destiny. Edna expresses the positive underlying currents of her society, perhaps of most societies.
In order for a society to have vitality and be dynamic, it must have a hopeful image of itself and its future. Edna Hibel supplies us with that image and shows us that through dedication, love and a positive attitude we can look to the future with a light and optimistic heart.
Theodore Plotkin 2000
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