Sunday, 17 August 2014

Linda Dell

“My husband is so wonderfully supportive, I can’t say enough good about him,” says Linda Dell. Among many attributes, “. . .he helped me build the crates when I had to send the paintings to Toronto,” Linda explains. “And he’s put up with me for the last six months.” Linda had one easel in each of two bedrooms and one in the living room where oil paintings progressed, or dried, or were varnished, all in preparation for her show at the Baggage Building at Prince Arthur’s Landing.
     This summer Linda made a brave start in Toronto where she had her floral works appraised in order to sell them at a fair price at the Twist Gallery on Queen Street. The paintings in her show, Boreal Dream which opens tomorrow with a reception for all at 7pm and running till September 10, will have prices ranging from $300.00 for smaller works, up to $2,200.00 for larger paintings. Linda will be at the opening, and then painting on site from August 14th to the 16th.
     Linda Dell is more commonly known for her large and beautiful flower paintings. Lesser known are her paintings where she played with her style in order to better make her paintings “dance.” For three years Linda experimented in her studio she once had in the Ruttan Building on Court Street.
     Much of the influence in experimentation comes from music. “There are similarities of music to painting,” Linda states. “A painting does move through time and changes. There’s the passage to arrive at [when painting] and then an intent for the eye to move around the painting, like music when the painting is completed.”
     Although Linda flirts with different styles, there are obvious similarities that make will make her show cohesive without being dull. There is certainly a lot of repetition within each work, but it’s an exciting game of intersecting lines and colours with clever and not so linear perspectives to draw you into the subject matter which is typically a magical forest where a game of shapes takes place, battling for your attention.
      Bright colours, if handled badly can make a painting look naïve, unsophisticated, but Linda handles the paint and subject matter expertly with amazing finesse, simultaneously incorporating the styles of Art Deco, Art Nouveau, and that of the great Canadian artists, Tom Thompson and Lauren Harris without making grandiose statements of power or to threaten you with “the cruelty of nature,” as we so often hear in the news. And with the styles of other artists referenced in Linda’s work they become more complex than they first appear, larger than life. With some knowledge of the history of painting you might enjoy spotting the influences where you might get little epiphany bounces, those “aha” moments that make you feel smart and give you more respect for the artist.

      The dark spaces in a couple paintings appear less a threat and more like an invitation to go deeper into another mystery. And the mysterious abstract shapes of another painting reference the chemical compounds of the rich soil. Even the deer have something to say about the forest.

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