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Linda Stark / MATRIX 250 (October 18—December 22, 2013)
FIRST SOLO EXHIBITION IN A MUSEUM BY LOS ANGELES-BASED ARTIST LINDA STARK, SHOWCASES HER HEAVILY TEXTURED PAINTINGS, MANY OF WHICH EVOKE ASPECTS OF THE FEMALE BODY
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Berkeley, CA, October 1, 2013 — Linda Stark / MATRIX 250 is the first solo museum exhibition by the Los Angeles–based artist, who has been making figurative and abstract paintings since the late 1980s. The exhibition showcases approximately fifteen works over the last two decades, many of which conflate the surface textures of the painting with various aspects of the female body, primarily flesh. Each of these modestly scaled paintings is the result of a time-intensive and material-rich artistic process, resulting in work that may at times seem more sculptural than painterly.
Inspired by transcendent, universal themes, as well as common utilitarian patterns, Stark’s distinctive body of work is organized around central motifs: spirals, rotations, weave patterns, fountains, flames, crosses, flesh, animals, and water. While working as a temp in a law firm, for instance, Stark became fixated with the herringbone weave pattern of the hardwood floor and started to consider the possibilities of working with this intricate motif in oil. White Weave (1992) is one of many canvases that developed out of this moment. Gradually dripping layers of thick oil paint onto the surface of the canvas, she patiently waits for the individuated lines to dry before adding yet another layer on top—a process that in its entirety can take upward of a year to complete. The weave pattern evokes women’s work and the Homeric tale of Penelope, who endlessly wove a shroud in order to avoid her eager suitors while waiting for Odysseus’s return.
The female body, shown in abstracted close-ups, has been a particular focus of Stark’s oeuvre, as witnessed in diverse representations of female genitalia and other fragmented body parts (belly buttons, hair, nipples, tattoos, etc.). She gravitates toward charged, forbidden imagery, often confronting that which is taboo, overused, or abject. In Coat of Arms (1991), she lifts a diagram of the endometrium from the popular feminist volume Our Bodies, Ourselves, presenting the uterus in gold paint against a dark, blood-red background. In Untitled (Two Fountains) (1991) blood seemingly streams forth from two female breasts set amid a fleshy, tactile ground, eventually dripping down off the canvas’s edge.
What emerges from this body of work is a deep interest in human psychology and spiritual subjects, filtered through a playful pop aesthetic. “One could say I’m a confessional artist,” Stark has said, “the work is personal, though I believe that it is through the intensely personal that one can make work that is telling of the human condition, relating to all of humanity.” The artist will travel to Berkeley for an artist’s talk on Friday, October 18, coinciding with the opening of the exhibition.
Friday, October 18, 2013; 6:30 p.m.
Artist Talk: Linda Stark
Hear MATRIX artist Linda Stark discuss the thinking and processes behind her meticulously crafted paintings in this illustrated overview of her work.
Included with L@TE admission
MATRIX 250 is organized by Apsara DiQuinzio, curator of modern and contemporary art and Phyllis C. Wattis MATRIX Curator. The MATRIX Program is made possible by a generous endowment gift from Phyllis C. Wattis and the continued support of the BAM/PFA Trustees.
About the Artist
Born in San Diego in 1956, Linda Stark lives and works in Los Angeles. The artist
received a B.A. from University of California, Davis (1978), and an M.F.A. from
University of California Irvine (1985). Over the last twenty years, she has exhibited
in numerous solo exhibitions at Angles Gallery, Los Angeles; as well as at the
Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara; Jack Shainman Gallery,
New York; Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles; and Feigen Contemporary, Chicago.
Her work has been featured in selected group exhibitions as varied as Viva La
Rasberries (organized by the artist Evan Halloway), Harris Lieberman Gallery,
New York; Meticulosity, Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design, Los
Angeles; FINDS! The Unusual Object, FOCA Curator’s Lab, Los Angeles; Unfinished
Paintings, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles; Desire: Six Los
Angeles Artists, Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena; L.A. Paint, Oakland
Museum of California, Oakland; and Mel’s Hole, California State Fullerton Grand
Central Arts Center, Santa Ana; among many others. She is the recipient of two
National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artist Fellowships, a California Arts Council
Fellowship, and a COLA Visual Artist Fellowship.
The MATRIX Program for Contemporary Art introduces the Bay Area community to exceptional work being made internationally, nationally, and locally, creating a rich connection to the current dialogues on contemporary art and demonstrating that the art of this moment is vital, dynamic, and often challenging. Confronting traditional practices of display and encouraging new, open modes of analysis, MATRIX provides an experimental framework for an active interchange between the artist, the museum, and the viewer. Since the program's inception in 1978, MATRIX has featured artists such as John Baldessari, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louise Bourgeois, Sophie Calle, Nan Goldin, Eva Hesse, Sol LeWitt, Shirin Neshat, Nancy Spero, and Andy Warhol. In recent years MATRIX has embraced a greater international scope, with the roster including Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Peter Doig, Omer Fast, Tobias Rehberger, Ernesto Neto, Rosalind Nashashibi, Tomás Saraceno, Mario Garcia Torres, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, representing countries as diverse as Finland, Germany, Iran, Mexico, Thailand, Brazil, and many others.
Founded in 1963, the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is UC Berkeley’s primary visual arts venue and among the largest university art museums in terms of size and audience in the United States. Internationally recognized for its art and film programming, BAM/PFA is a platform for cultural experiences that transform individuals, engage communities, and advance the local, national and global discourse on art and ideas. BAM/PFA’s mission is “to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through art and film.”
BAM/PFA presents approximately fifteen art exhibitions and 380 film programs each year. The museum’s collection of over 19,000 works of art includes important holdings of Neolithic Chinese ceramics, Ming and Qing Dynasty Chinese painting, Old Master works on paper, Italian Baroque painting, early American painting, Abstract Expressionist painting, contemporary photography, and video art. Its film archive of over 16,000 films and videos includes the largest collection of Japanese cinema outside of Japan, Hollywood classics, and silent film, as well hundreds of thousands of articles, reviews, posters, and other ephemera related to the history of film, many of which are digitally scanned and accessible online.
Location: 2626 Bancroft Way, just below College Avenue across from the UC Berkeley campus.
Gallery and Museum Store Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Open L@TE Fridays until 9 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Information: 24-hour recorded message (510) 642-0808; fax (510) 642-4889; TDD (510) 642-8734.