Preface Book Werk-Werk Linda Arts

Hendrik Driessen, director De Pont Museum, Tilburg

Linda Arts's studio is located in 'downtown' Tilburg, in what used to be fire station. Where a crimson fire engine must have stood at one time, the black-and-white of abstract paintings now predominate on the walls. The actual act of painting takes place at a high table, where Arts works standing up, in the middle of the studio. This is how she prevents gravity from having too much influence on the fluidly applied paint. The distance between the painting hand and the inspecting eye of the painter is small, and stepping back to have a look at the result can only be done when the painting is set upright or hung on the wall. For this the paint first needs to dry a bit. These phases of the work process are carried out in a concentrated but, above all, controlled manner.

In a certain sense, one can say that Linda Arts 'writes' rather than paints her paintings. The way in which an author can evoke a feeling or sketch an atmospheric image through a combination of words is, in my view, related to the image that Linda Arts manages to conjure up from the paint as she works. Though we see no evidence of a 'legible' image that refers directly to something, a 'word image' does take shape: this is the peculiar phenomenon in which we recognize and interpret a word without giving individual attention to each letter of it. The paintings of Linda Arts come across with a similarly odd familiarity. They are new and, at the same time, part of a tradition of abstract art which, despite a few difficulties, has found its place in the collective consciousness by now. When looking for something to go on in these works, we could initially think of Fernand Léger, sixties Op Art or some works by Peter Kogler, but after that we think, above all, of Linda Arts. On further observation the black-and-white contrast that seemed to dominate the image with the first impression can be dismissed: these paintings are surprisingly colorful. The greys that lie between the lightest light and the darkest dark are beautifully nuanced, and the blues, reds and greens that she occasionally adds not only become more intense along side the 'poor cousins' of the color palette, but make the entire image fuller and more colorful. Linda Arts does not mix the color on the canvas; she paints in juxtaposed bands of varying hues and allows the mixing of these to take place in our brains. The painting unfolds as we look at it, and it is remarkable that flat bands of paint can, in succession, have such a rhythmic and spatial effect. Her statement "the essence of my way of working lies with the linking of extremes" underscores the significance of this perceptual process. It is not only the great differences in 'color', but also the contradictions between the flat and the spatial, the abstract and the real, between reference and autonomy that she raises and convincingly manages to resolve in an astonishing and absorbing variation on painting.