Linda at work with Curlee Holton

About Linda

The gossamer quilts of Chappaqua, NY, artist Linda Freeman are both visually lyrical and creatively radical, and they reflect the multifaceted nature of the artist who conceived them. Freemanís Angel quilts, for example, are at once poetic (as brilliantly pigmented confections of Rococo putti and verdure) and artistically innovative in their fusion of painting and quiltmaking, fine art and craft, organic figural form and geometric strip piece construction. As a quiltmaker, filmmaker, painter, and poet, Freeman excels in a broad range of creative genres and this eclecticism is evident in both her innovative methods and her professional achievements. Renowned for her many award-winning monographic documentaries on 20th and 21st century artists, Freemanís work as a filmmaker reflects the depth of her interest and insights into the creative process. Her well-scored and finely edited films offer to an extensive audience rare footage of artists at work while discussing, in their own words, their philosophies and art-making techniques. These films point to Freemanís grasp of the nexus of words and images as two forms of language that can be mutually enriching. It is not surprising, therefore, that a number of Freemanís quilts compose her own elegiac prose.

Freeman has an impressive record of arts education and professional achievements, including study at the Tyler School of Fine Arts, the New York University Film School, the Art Students League and The New School. She has lectured, curated, exhibited, and screened her artist films at such renowned institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Salle Clemenceau Palais in Paris. Freemanís vast training and experiences infuse her work, which invariably offers viewers a fascinating dichotomy of technical and aesthetic excellence, and of visual lyricism and narrative depth. These contradictory undercurrents of imagery and iconography occur not only in text-based works such as The World Was, but in the Angel quilts as well, which are inspired by, and embody, Freemanís experience of the loss of her immediate family, the last of whom (her mother) died in 2003. Indeed, the use of apparent charm to veil (if only fleetingly) the deeper, more poignant substance of her works has become a touchstone of Freemanís aesthetic, and is likewise, in many ways, a hallmark of her own very recondite personality.

Lisa E. Farrington, Ph.D.

Reviews

Linda Freeman works in a quilting tradition. Like African-American artist Faith Ringgold, her quilts are part way quilted fabric and the rest of the way painted canvas. Done in a high key - mostly Naples yellow and titanium white with touches of rose and light blue - Freeman's two quilts are painted poems, the words wandering across the surfaces with meandering charm.

The poems themselves have a disarming pessimism, rather like the rueful sayings stitched into traditional American quilts. "House of Blocks" observes, "I know that before this day/Our destiny was written in the stars/And that somewhere Destiny presides/Time unsheathes the scimitars..." Quilting is definitely a kind of assemblage, but this and the generally light tone of the show is not what we've come to expect from the New Jersey aesthetic. Be surprised.

Dan Bischoff, Star-Ledger Staff

Linda Freeman's poems and quilts combine two folk art forms: poems and quilt making with the "high art" genre of painting. The results are vibrant interplays of text and imagery that convey a complex vision of the world. They are personal with a power behind the poem-quilts that defy analysis. Freeman's observations of nature and human relationships reveal and eye which probes deeper than the surfaces.

There is an uncompromising starkness in many of these quilts. Yet underneath one finds warmth and compassion emanating from the colors and textures. A strong tactile quality is created with multiple layers of canvas, additive materials and objects applied to the surfaces. Like life's many layers, Freeman's poem-quilts are virtual assemblages, but created within clearly defined structures. The artist has learned how to reconcile inspiration with discipline to the point that the blend is without visible seams or loose ends.

Elly L. Wolf

Links

Faith Ringgold
Grace Matthews Blog
Anyone Can Fly Foundation
ACFF New Essay Scholarship
Art Table
NAWA
Metroplitan Museum of Art
Guggenheim
Whitney
MOMA

Contact Linda by phone (914) 238-9366, fax (914) 238-6324 or email.