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Linda Arreola


A native of Los Angeles and second generation Mexican-American, I grew up on the outskirts of the "commercial" L.A. in a small hillside Latino community surrounded by freeways, railyards, chain-link fences, and industrial buildings. The contrast of living in a sleepy rolling hills community bordered by a barren backbone of transport arteries and industry created a yearning for poetry. Art became my poetry. To find beauty and spirit in my ordinary life seemed to be the key to unraveling a secret and uncovering a fundamental truth which could bring solace and grace to a very complex and contradictory world.

Enriched with meaning and symbolism, everyday objects are replete with qualities we tend to overlook. When things are at their most elemental, they reveal to us their essence. Energy, poetry, glory and mystery are innate to all things (man-made and natural). Rocks, branches, sand, as well as what I call their urban counterparts such as paintbrush, broom, chair or washboard, have been great sources for inspiration. Symbolizing beauty and poetry in material form they are the humble icons of a grand spirit.

Formally trained in sculpture (Cal State L.A.), and architecture (UCLA), order and three-dimensionality have become integral qualities of my work. It has led to the use of the grid as a foundation in which I develop my paintings. It symbolizes the unseen network for which energy or spirit is transmitted and suggests an imagined 3-D interconnection between all things. It creates order, defines space and allows for chaos. As a result of working with the grid, I approach my paintings as "constructions", giving them a three-dimensional quality through the application of materials. Using unmixed color, I layer my paint rather than mix or blend. The use of color and simple geometric form are influences of my Indigenous Hispanic ancestry. Color, elements of language (words, letters, numbers), and object are combined in juxtapositions and repetitions to create new meanings through symbolism and metaphor. By revisiting and honoring the common in our everyday world I hope to make sacred that which is ordinary and to further explore the symbols of a universal language within this multi-cultural world. Such a language would be able to pose the fundamental questions of all societies...questions about who we are, where we come from, and where we are going.

I believe there is a connection between the domestic and the sublime, the commonplace and the spiritual, and the material and the soul. This has been the nature of my work.

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