"Anne Lindberg, former KC Art Institute professor, on her new show and Virginia Woolf"
From the Kansas Flint Hills to New York’s Hudson Valley, artist Anne Lindberg has always found inspiration in the land.
Lindberg was born in Iowa City, Iowa, in 1962. After earning a bachelor of fine arts from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a master of fine arts from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Lindberg came to Kansas City in 1990, where she taught at Kansas City Art Institute for 10 years before resigning to work full time as an artist since then.
During that time, Lindberg frequently spent weekends camping in a pop-up trailer on a piece of property she and her husband owned in the Flint Hills. She fell in love with the landscape, which she says profoundly influenced her work at the time.
After her husband got a teaching position in New York, the couple bought a piece of property two hours outside the city in New York’s Hudson Valley, famous for the Hudson River school of landscape painters. They built a small house and studio where they now live full time.
Lindberg currently has an installation, “pivot green blue,” made up of miles of thread stapled overhead to create a cloud of color at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (through July 2017).
Lindberg’s current solo show, “In Tandem,” runs through June 11 at Haw Contemporary, 1600 Liberty St., along with two other solo shows: “Works and Days” by Corey Antis, and “Don’t Stand Up” by Alex Kvares. This conversation, shortened and edited minimally for clarity, took place at the gallery.
Q: What was the inspiration for these black-and-white graphite pencil drawings?
A: In a way they are about the first period of time that we spent in our new home in the Hudson Valley. We arrived on a Sunday, and on Monday morning — thankfully we had brought groceries and had made a huge pot of chili — we got 24 inches of snow. Two days later we got 24 more inches of snow. So we were there in these two black buildings in a white world, and this was the work I made.
Q: The black buildings are your house and studio?
A: Yes. The studio is a kit barn structure and the house looks like a barn, and traditional horse barns in the area are dark. We are next to a wetland and surrounded by alfalfa fields, so the house has a lot of windows that allow you to be part of nature.
It’s a good life. My studio is 40 feet from my bed, and the grocery store is seven miles away, and the Internet allows you to be connected to the world. Boston is three hours to the north and New York City is two hours to the south.
Q: Why is there a quote from Virginia Woolf on the wall next to your drawings?
A: I ran across a recording of her speaking in a radio broadcast from 1937. There are very few recordings of her voice, so that was very powerful. This passage is her talking, not from her writing. Her voice is very compelling.
Q: How so?
A: The cadence, her pauses to find the right word. She (Virginia Woolf) says, “It is a serious fact that a word is not a single and separate entity but part of other words, indeed it is not a word until it is part of a sentence.
When I heard that I was working on these (paintings that are pairs of forms that touch but do not mirror each other). I worked on the forms one at a time, not knowing what they would be paired with at first.
So it was like I was making a word, and making a word, and making a word. And then when I joined them, that was what gave each one meaning. The message at the end of what I’ve transcribed here, where she (Woolf) is talking about the wildness of words and the difficulty of capturing them, is:
“If you want proof of this, consider how often in moments of emotion, when we most need words, we find none. Perhaps it is their most striking peculiarity, their need to change.”
So, words are slippery and you can’t capture them. And these are very abstract images. They are sort of distilled forms that are suggestive of many things, and they’re in pairs, which is inherently about the relationship of this to that. So it seemed appropriate somehow.
The pairing is also like two pages coming together. And I’m delighted in the alliance with Corey Antis’ work downstairs, which are actual books, and Alex Kvares’ works in the front, which are pages of ledger books. There’s a nice synergy in the gallery at the moment.