Judith Linhares: The Artist as Curator illuminates the wondrous world of Judith Linhares (b. 1940, California) and the abundance of inspirations that shape her artistic practice—from her time in the California Bay Area in the 1960s and 70s, to her dream journals, to other artists, five of whom Linhares has selected to include in the exhibition.
With roots in abstract painting, Linhares’ work reconsiders the expressive possibilities in figuration and narrative. She uses her observation and formal skills to imagine a realm of her own making through layered brush gestures that fill the composition, expressing monumentality and directness. What often emerges are long-limbed, nude figures and wild animals that coexist in a kaleidoscope of colors, liberated from logic or expectation. The women, sometimes represented in groups, own their real estate. They are not posing for the viewer but are more likely to be involved in personal reverie, possessing the agency to climb, lounge, eat, and exist as they please.
The range of paintings in this exhibition reflects Linhares’ interests in narrative as a form of personal revelation, as in psychoanalysis or the so-called “talking cure”—the desire to achieve wholeness and peace by recognizing and bringing into consciousness conflicts that need to be resolved. Linhares’ process is set in motion by making conflicts visible, working with the idea of opposing elements—abstract and figurative, light and dark, conscious and unconscious.
Accompanying these paintings, items from the artist’s studio, including collected objects, photographs, and journals, parallel to specific imagery and temperaments in the works, allowing us to imagine how these multifarious elements were transposed by Linhares. Linhares’ creative catalysts go beyond the studio space, as well, and into the greater dialogue and history of artmaking. Recognizing the importance of artist-to-artist communication, the exhibition highlights the works of five artists: Bill Adams, Ellen Berkenblit, Karin Davie, Dona Nelson, and Mary Jo Vath. Each artist represents a unique approach, with strong commitments to physical processes and explorations within representation and abstraction. The inclusion of these five artists serves to underscore their individual differences while reflecting Linhares’ common interests in the power of an intuitive process.