Since the early 1990s, Linda Christensen has chosen to depict female figures in transitions of movement and repose. Developing her own personal language over years of influence from the Bay Area Abstract and Figurative traditions, Christensen has confidently refined her own inner vision to reach a place of clarity and national significance with her painting.
Often artists and media look to model our lives after examples of that which we consider perfection – the flawless body. Not so with Christensen’s work. Her paintings evoke the simplistic yet formal essence of the human form, wrought in a humanistic paradox of perfection and imperfection. Through her paintings she depicts a vulnerable representation of humanity caught in quiet every day practices. As in life, her figures are in a state of continuous transformation from repose to action. Christensen captures these moments in between, as if the viewer is unseen – the subject totally immersed in their own world. As with her transitions between serenity and activity in her imagery, Christensen’s work tends to offer strong contrasts in tonal value and chromatic temperature. Mark Van Proyen writes “ These confident counterpoints of energy and color values play off of each other in ways that give her work a unique back-story that carries a kind of archetypal significance”.
The predominate subject matter of Linda Christensen’s paintings of the female figure has developed from using the same live model, one of her two daughters, Emily. Her muse’s expressive body language and hand gestures are richly interpreted by Christensen, as she works in a variety of media including oil, oil pastels, and graphite. Her painted figures often benefit from the play between complete and the seemingly incomplete. Part of these rich juxtapositions appear while Christensen occasionally distresses her painting’s surfaces by creating an abrasive texture, scraping away or mark making and negative spaces that contrast with the smoothed unblemished portions of the painted surfaces. Christensen’s painting style is often featureless and compacted within an interior or exterior landscape. Her resulting female forms take on qualities of the everyday moment – caught in between time and place. It is often what is left unpainted that keeps the mind questioning the circumstances one sees. There is a story told by these works, many stories in fact, that has something to do with the very process of painting itself, they stand on their own, and find a state of grace in doing so.
Christensen states, “Invariably my work has a consistent set of happenstances. I know this by using hindsight to reflect upon the content of the work. While I am in the process of applying the paint, I have no destination. I am working instinctively but at the same time I am paying attention to the balance of contrast between line, brush mark, large shapes, small shapes, open space as well as content of information.”
Linda Christensen was born in Berkeley California. She studied at the University of California, Santa Cruz and has raised two daughters while maintaining her home and studio. Christensen has been featured through out the country in solo and group exhibitions, in private galleries and museums, and she has won grants and awards honoring her work.
Gail Severn, Gail Severn Gallery, 2012