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Line and colour transcend language in Anne Lindberg's works and encourage reflection

Multimedia artist Anne Lindberg's art practice is rooted in an immersive experience to let the viewers question the flow of time and review their past.

by Dilpreet BhullarPublished on : Feb 19, 2023

The rows of well-defined lines in the artwork are an invitation to take a look closer at them to gauge the intensity of luminosity and deftly crafted density. In this fashion, the viewers are initiated to play along with the field of light assembled in front of them. The seamless connection between colour, form, intensity and direction of a line, as a way to reorient the trained eye towards what is often overlooked, occupies the art practice of New York-based multimedia artist Anne Lindberg. The line(s) as a geometrical shape, central to her works, is formed in drawings as well as textile installations. Practice as a response to the two and three dimensions, conceptualised to question the flow of time, opens a possibility to anchor an experiential effect for the viewers.

Apparition eclipse, Graphite and coloured pencil on mat board, 2022, Anne Lindberg | Anne Lindberg | STIRworld
Apparition eclipse, 2022, Graphite and coloured pencil on mat board Image: Artist and Carrie Secrist Gallery

To pause and reflect on silence, movement and distance around the site-responsive installations, against the strident need to distort the perception of what is given in the works of Lindberg, are achieved subtly. Playing with perception allows the viewers of her work to create their environments to have personal experiences with the drawings. In an interview with STIR, she cites a few works to support this observation, “One drawing, Apparition Eclipse, is a vertically oriented 8.5-foot-tall by 5-foot-wide drawing. From a distance, it is subtle in effect but as you approach and stand just a few feet away it becomes encompassing to what I hope is an emotional and physiological level. Towering above the viewer, the graphite and coloured pencil generate one subtle emotion after another, again and again with the repetition of vertical lines. Colour, the density/non-density of the lines and their simple proximity to each other create a unique context for each viewer.”

Footpaths 03, Graphite and coloured pencil on mat board, 2022, Anne Lindberg | Anne Lindberg | STIRworld
Footpaths 03, 2022, Graphite and coloured pencil on mat board Image: Courtesy of Anne Lindberg and Carrie Secrist Gallery

The pursuit to have an interaction with the space is not limited to the artworks but it is an extension of Lindberg’s daily engagement in a studio, and conversation with peers and community. Moreover, the long walks, undertaken by the artist, offer her the time to consume herself in the period of contemplation around transformation and adaptability. In doing so Lindberg perpetuates a ritual: diligently performed by writers including William Wordsworth, Helen Mirra, Rebecca Solnit, and Virginia Woolf. The quotidian exercise pinned by the delicate human condition informs the creative practice of the visual artist. In other words, each line or colour in the art is a physical answer to these tactile moments. The abstract nature of the work for Lindberg at a base level is a synonym for intangibility. The only way to pull meaning from looking at something that appears abstract is to bring your own oneness to bear. “An immersive experience is a tool that I can provide to help shape the possibility for context. I hope that a visceral moment can, through immersion, provide a moment that is tangible enough to provide a kind of clarification,” elucidates Lindberg.

Footpaths 02, 2022, Graphite and coloured pencil on mat board, Anne Lindberg | Anne Lindberg | STIRworld
Footpaths 02, 2022, Graphite and coloured pencil on mat board Image: Courtesy of Anne Lindberg and Carrie Secrist Gallery

In her recent exhibition BTWXT II along with Chicago-based painter Olivia Schreiner at Carrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago, she is showcasing a series Afterimage. It is an image that appears in the eyes after a period of time of being exposed to another image. Following her artistic oeuvre, this physical response is the manifestation of a visceral reaction. She mentions, “What I am exploring is the use of colour, and combinations of colour, to ask how what we perceive through placing certain colours together alters our understanding of what the eye and the mind “see”. For example, putting the colours blue and yellow together creates what is called a “simultaneous contrast” which alters our perception of what colour is. The relationship between colours is more than composition, it can be a deeply felt experience.”

Spectrum, 2022, Graphite and coloured pencil on mat board, Anne Lindberg | Anne Lindberg | STIRworld
Spectrum, 2022, Graphite and coloured pencil on mat board Image: Courtesy of Anne Lindberg and Carrie Secrist Gallery

A curious mind is keen to know how she makes a selection of colours for her works. She has been studying the writings of Emily Noyes Vanderpoel and Mary Gartside and the experiments of Joseph Albers for her current presentation at the exhibition. Through this, an underlying theory called “colour complementariness” has emerged. Elaborating this Lindberg says, “This essentially means that colours can imply a shift in time and space through their relationship with each other. The colours chosen for the drawings in this exhibition can mean many things on an abstract level but it’s their essence that most interests me. Each colour’s characteristic is its own, but in tandem or, in relation to another, can mean many more things. What exactly that is I can only imply.”

Artist’s Portrait | Anne Lindberg | STIRworld
Artist’s Portrait Image: Jim Lindberg

When witnessed within the framework of art history, the combination of lines and colours has been the ardent subject of the painters of the early twentieth century. In the time tormented by the World War, the questions around the imperious power of the divine were evoked. Casting the dark shadows over everything under the sun, the artists played with the ideal form of line – a metaphor for light – concurrently talked about concerns around spirituality. The book Concerning the Spiritual in Art by the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky was published with a similar intent. Another upcoming immersive installation by Lindberg What Colors is Divine light presses upon the notion of interrelation between individual and community, at large. By having “light” integral to the work, the American artist attempts to draw upon the presence of divine light in every sectarian philosophy.

Installation view of the exhibition at Carrie Secrist Gallery Video: Courtesy of Anne Lindberg and Carrie Secrist Gallery

Lindberg is optimistic that the viewers would find themselves with a sense of exploration, and a wider and deeper understanding of how colour can create an emotional and non-verbal state of being. Nevertheless, she remains careful to indicate, “This does not have to mean to be emotionally sad or harmonious; it can also bring about a feeling of turbulence, wonder or urgency. One of the questions I asked myself recently is ‘Why is colour so powerful?’ It transcends language and slows time and, more importantly, asks nothing of us.”  

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