There must be something in the New York state water. Everyone I know who grew up there became an artist. Linda Bankerd is no exception. As a child she loved to draw concentrating on detail and laying the groundwork for later studies. During her four years at the College of mount saint Vincent in New York City, Linda broadened her outlook, studying as many art processes as she could. Then, as often happens, her art took a back seat to jobs in far flung places. Linda and her husband Paul first put in a stint in the Peace Corps in Cali Columbia which was interrupted by a call to military service. He joined the Navy and took the family to North Carolina where Linda was able to attend graduate school, obtaining an MAT.
After her children were all in school and the nineteenth century townhouse was renovated, Linda decided to get serious about making art again, focusing on making detailed silk screen prints at the Northern Virginia Community College. Other classes at the Art League lead her to non-representational acrylic painting which she found exhilarating. Much of her inspiration comes from Matisse, Diebenkorn, Joan Brown, and other bay area painters such as Elmer Bischoff and David Park.
Painting the landscape is a new turn for Linda Bankerd who mounts an exhibit of abstract colorful acrylic work during September at Touchstone Gallery in Washington DC. “It’s so easy to get into a cliché portraying the land,” she says, “so I didn’t tackle the exterior landscape for a long time, preferring figures and interiors instead.” The pull of the horizon line is very strong, so I can see her point. Nullifying that line and still getting the feel of the land forms and plants is a tricky business, but Linda accomplishes it. She spices up life in ordinary landscapes by rejecting perspective, using arbitrary color, and applying paint with an unrestrained brush stroke.
I imagine that those diverse landscapes, Linda breezes through on her frequent bicycle rides (she covers at least 5000 miles each year), permeate her inner eye and muscle their way out onto the canvas after the bike is stowed and Linda heads for the studio. Those landscapes, backyard perennial gardens, Washington cherry trees, and snowy Arizona mountains now sprout colorfully forth in a series of abstract compositions.
Linda starts each painting with a drawing or a photo, and quickly switches to arbitrary colors, while at the same time, omitting obvious land references and concentrating on variety of forms and patterns resulting in the absence of uniformity and the distinct prominence of diversity. She paints light coming through the trees without focusing on shapes of individual trees. She paints the color of flowers without detailing individual blossoms. Linda’s “Garden Variety” exhibit runs:
September 6-29 at Touchstone Gallery
901 New York Ave NW, Washington DC.
Opening reception: Friday, September 6, 6-8:30pm.
Post by: Rosemary Luckett