Artist's Statement

As a student I took up the prevailing style of the day, Abstract Expressionism, and remained an abstract painter through my twenties. However, my ink drawings of this period showed a fascination with the surreal, rendered in minute detail. When abstraction no longer reflected my sensibilities, I stopped painting for five years. A chance visit to a naive gallery in Paris reawakened my desire to paint, experimenting in that style. The innocence of my young children gave me the further encouragement to explore this very different path.

Many artists are influenced primarily by their surroundings, but I have been most deeply impressed by other artists. During my childhood my favourite painting was Henri Rousseau’s “The Sleeping Gypsy”, a nocturnal fantasy picturing a lion sniffing at a sleeping Beduin. Over many decades this painting has continued to enchant me. The whimsy of Rene Magritte, Miro and Paul Klee have also been influential. The surreal juxtaposition of images releases me into a dimension where the spirit is free to express itself.

Many of my works are set at night. The vibrant glow of colours in the dark suggest a mysterious, even magical potential that can only then come to life. Night is the time for dreaming when images spontaneously arise from the unconscious. Certain archetypal images, such as night, resonate deeply. Others that have reoccured over the years are eggs, birds, fire, water, trees, churches, boats and lighthouses, to name a few.

The lighter, playful subjects serve as an antidote to the ever present horrors in our daily news; they are a balm for our troubled souls. I hope to remind people that joy is our birthright. Whereas the “protest” paintings carry a message. They refer to aspects of environmental destruction, refugee incarceration, excessive materialism and our denial of those destructive deeds that are going on right under our noses. In several works, if you look carefully, you will see people so absorbed in TV or other media that they are missing either evil or wondrous events taking place nearby. Consequently, the naive depiction in these works becomes ironical.

To refresh my vision I also paint landscapes or abstractions from time to time. In the 1980s I painted a series of works based on runes, developing my own runic “alphabet” over the years.

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©2011 Linda Childs-Van Wijk. All rights reserved. E&OE.