Skip to main content

VISUAL ARTS: Linda Ingham – Open Series: meditations on place, self and time

Open Series - Self Portrait

The first time I wrote about Linda Ingham’s work was for the (sadly defunct) Article Magazine in 2009. Back then, Linda was publicising Open Pores, the launch platform for the much larger Pore Project: some 200-plus works derived from representations of the human face - mostly the faces of friends, acquaintances and volunteers, with some self-portraits. On the eve of Linda’s new show at Caistor’s 28 Plough Hill we met at the artist’s Cleethorpes Studio.

The first thing that strikes you about the works are their openness. There’s an honesty that makes them instantly engaging. This isn’t simply a case of every picture telling a story; the viewer’s own readings of the work are guided by the artist creating layers of meaning. So much so that the works welcome an almost literary interpretation. With self-portraiture the focus of Linda’s work, does she feel the revelation of herself, often in an unflattering light, demands a degree of courage?

“Now that I’ve decided that self-portraiture is the main thing I do, I’ve tried to be realistic. In the new piece I show myself as a 47 year-old woman who’s got a big hooter and getting a bit jowly, but then again I didn’t have my glasses on and I had a bit of make up on. I wasn’t trying to look ugly.”

Writing narrative, creating stories, we choose characters to carry aspects of plot and meaning. With the new paintings, is Linda conscious of creating images with a view to controlling how they might be interpreted?
 
“In the new painting there’s a story as to why I’m wearing the headband with the narcissi on it, but I don’t walk around with that on my head; it’s not real life. It’s this thing between … I’m mindful of showing something of myself, but in other ways I’m making up a projection of myself. I am telling a story.”
 
“I’m an insomniac and recently I discovered that, if you put narcissi in your bedroom, you sleep. If you look back to the root of the word, it comes from the Greek narkissos, which is from narke: numbness. Also these things are as beautiful dead as they are alive and of course the self-portraiture has echoes  of the story of Narcissus, the youth who fell in love with his reflection in a pool.”



Open Series - Self Portrait Study 2, 2011


So the paintings, laden with symbolism over and above their aesthetic quality, offer a context and a space for the viewer to place their own thoughts and ideas. For Linda, there is a significance in the time of year, with the show opening at Easter.
 
“The opportunity of a show at Easter has helped me to move forward with an aspect in this series that uses circles and ovals as symbols of renewal and life cycle. The woven pieces (the headband) are reminiscent of Easter bonnets worn in days gone by, the ritual. So it’s a pun on me, this 47 year old woman not daring to wear an Easter bonnet, but daft enough to wear a headband: she’s not a maiden anymore and her flower’s a bit withered.”

Away from the more familiar self-portraiture, Linda draws great inspiration from a stretch of the Humber Estuary beach near her home. Much of the work in the new show is concerned with the pureness of the material as found and used, unchanged, in its original and natural form.

 “That’s the point when it is the most ‘itself’. It’s when working with these elements that I feel that I am the most myself. So, in the drawings, I’ve used a piece of silver to make soft grey marks that contrast with the brownish pigment of the piece of jet collected from the same beach.”

Open Series - Shell 3, 2010

These are landscapes, but not in a conventional sense. Linda refers to them as ‘shadow paintings’.

 “I went down to the area of the beach I like to go on New Year’s Eve 2011 and New Year’s Day 2012. And caught the colour of the sky and the atmosphere on those days and at the same time I trapped some of the air in the painted boxes.  They’re almost abstracts rather than figurative; I see them almost as reliquaries of time past. But my interest in that particular place is the way it makes you feel, you walk down there and it just opens up. That’s partly why I’ve called the series ‘Open’ I just think it’s an interesting title; it can mean so many different things, so many layers.”
And that is the key to the work in Open Series: meditations on place, self and time. Layers of allusion and metaphor, some perhaps misleading, plenty subverting convention and all with honesty and a story to tell.



Open Series: meditations on place, self and time: paintings, drawings, objects and artefacts evocative of self-portraiture, place and renewal - a work in constant progress – is on at Caistor’s 28 Plough Hill until 30th April.

Linda Ingham will be available to talk about her work at the gallery this Saturday 7th April from 11.00am.


For more information:















Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Life writing, memoir, autobiography. However you describe it, sometimes you just want to tell your story. Or to know how to make the most of the life story of someone you know. Writing nonfiction, particularly when you're so close to the subject, can be a daunting task. The idea behind these workshops, delivered in partnership with the Lil Drama Company at PAD Studios, is to demystify the writing process, to give participants the techniques and tools to enable them to approach their writing with confidence. In many ways, traditional history tends to focus on the momentous; but now, arguably more than ever, everyday life experiences of people are the places we go to hear the truth. I'd hope that over the three weeks of workshops participants can work towards finding their voice, bringing together memory and history to make sense of their own experiences, framing them on the page in a way that communicates and gives us all a greater understanding. For more info on this, Dave Wind…

PULP! THE CLASSICS - The Hound of the Baskervilles

You'll be familiar with the story - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's super sleuth Holmes goes down to the Moors in search of the legendary hound. The brilliantly inventive Moffatt and Gattiss BBC version notwithstanding, the story first found its way into the public imagination in serialised form in the Strand Magazine in 1901/02. It was the third of four Holmes novels written by Conan Doyle and stands the test of time as a great crime novel in its own right. 'Murder ... Mystery ... Walkies!' Now a re-published edition from Pulp! The Classics, an imprint of Oldcastle books, features a vivid retro pulp cover with artwork by David Mann, tongue in cheek taglines and  orange sprayed coloured page edges. Each book in the series re-prints the complete original text and The Hound of the Baskervilles is a great addition. Perfect for Holmes completists, crime fiction fans and  lovers of pulp art, it takes its place alongside The Great Gatsby, Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, Tess …

Paris in the Dark - Robert Olen Butler

Paris 1915, the United States’ entry to the First World War is eighteen months away. President Woodrow Wilson is committed to keeping America out of the war. Christopher Marlowe ‘Kit’ Cobb, American correspondent for the Chicago Post-Express and undercover agent for the US government, is resident in the city, ostensibly to tell the story of the volunteer American ambulance drivers helping the war effort, their nightly convoys ferrying French wounded to the city’s hospitals. With war raging, the city’s morale on the verge of collapse and French authorities desperate to maintain control, Cobb the spy is assigned to investigate a wave of bombings of civilian targets. In the wake of one blast, he returns to pay his Café bill. His waiter catches the prevailing mood: ‘“The Barbarians,” he said. Meaning the Germans. “They are among us.”’ Suspicion falls on infiltrators among the refugees streaming into Paris from Alsace, northern France and Belgium. Cobb picks up the bombers' trail, nav…