Linda Colsh builds her pieced, layered and stitched artworks from the images and ideas that she collects as photographs, drawings and writings. She is known for her images of elderly women and men. Anonymous and invisible to most others, her subjects come from the streets where she finds them. She strips away their context, and reworks them with new narratives and imagined scenarios. Each work begins with blank white or black cloth, which Linda alters with dye, discharge and paint. She works with design software to develop her images for printing by digital or traditional methods. Her process is weighted to designing and preparing content and cloth before the actual stitching together.
An American artist residing in Everberg, Belgium, since 1990, Linda Colsh has lived in America, Asia and Europe. A lifelong artist with two degrees in Art History, she exhibits in the US and internationally. Recent highlights were selection to show in Fiber Philadelphia’s Inside/Outside the Box exhibition, the 4th Riga International Textile & Fibre Art Triennial; her Strassen Szenen solo show in Freiburg, Germany; and invitation to exhibit in 3 Artists at Galerie Holtop, Tilburg, the Netherlands. She has curated, juried and judged exhibitions throughout Europe and the US, including Quilt National 2013 and Visions 2010. Her work is published and in collections worldwide, including the Collection of John M. Walsh III. Among the awards her artwork has won are the European Quilt Triennial first prize and the top prize of the Fabric of Legacies Exhibition in Colorado.
Linda Colsh is a Board member and Secretary of Studio Art Quilt Associates; and, in addition to her work on several SAQA committees, she was the organization’s first Representative for the Europe/Israel region.
I am currently working in series with themes that focus on aspects of growing old and the issues of being elderly: invisibility, isolation, privacy, identity, and our concepts of what is beautiful (or not). I like the push-pull of looking at something from all sides and then, carrying that observation further by imagining that same thing not there at all. What is important is what is seen, what is not seen and what is imagined. I love how a walk in the fog sets the mind’s eye working to see more that the eyes reveal, to fill in the blanks and imagine what is obscured. I approach making my art with the goal of trying to achieve that combination of the visual with the challenge of mystery.
Whether colored by happiness, anger, fortitude, or sadness, my approach is humanist and my themes are solitude and dignity. My imagery is chosen to portray the effects of age and wisdom, and how experience enables people to cope (or not) with the often-overwhelming world they navigate day in and day out. I hope to create a mood of grit and determination and to respect the characters that populate my artwork. I try to balance the information I put in with how much I leave unstated; thus, letting the viewer continue the stories I begin.
My art references the concept of control: who is in control, people struggling to stay in control, when things get out of control…. I explore the idea that some people, maybe even entire classes of people, are invisible. My work examines the relationship between the individual and society, suggesting mutual responsibilities and sometimes bringing to light irresponsibility. I am intrigued by the idea of edges and margins—people living on the edge or in the margins.
CURATORIAL, JURY, JUDGING & EXPERIENCE HIGHLIGHTS:
Most often we see them from behind, usually solitary women. Their silhouettes, animated by repetition that implies determined movement, occupy the stark world of the anonymous, unnoticed elderly. It’s as if we’re following them into that world.
Her colors are restful, but her imagery is not. Linda Colsh's work mostly stays within a limited palette of browns, blacks, and whites...Her images repeat, fading in and out of the background as if seen through the mist. Figures are mysterious, seemingly glimpsed from a distance...The viewer has to work to decipher the messages implied in Colsh's imagery, but the resultant sense of a deeper understanding is worth the effort.
Linda Colsh's "Mole & Henge" is a richly somber composition, in which an optically dazzling interplay of circular and rectangular shapes enlivens a variegated field of mostly dark hues. The expansive scale of Colsh's work adds to its impressive depth.
Like every artist, Linda Colsh draws inspiration from her surroundings. But this quilter and surface design artist has a richer and more varied portfolio of geographical images and experiences to draw from than most...She was particularly captivated by iconography, making it the focus of her Master's thesis and a strong theme in her work today.
Linda Colsh's winning quilt "Cold Shoulder" has a sobering message stitched into its layers. The aged female figures, cloaked in heavy winter coats, are overshadowed by the dark landscape that surrounds them. Their very inclusion in such a dominating background in itself excludes them from the bigger picture, creating a statement of how we, as a modern society, deal with an increasingly aging population.
Repeated images of figures that are built up into beautiful and evocative compositions are characteristic of Linda Colsh’s work. This time, a lonely person under an umbrella battles her way through the deluge in the haunting Sudden Storm.
This page was last updated 17 July 2012
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