Linda Bond

Umbrella Art Center Artcubator Residency

July to August 2019

Bio

I was born in San Francisco and grew up outside of New York City, in Montclair, New Jersey. I come from a family of modest means. My father was a news photographer in the military and left both professions for factory work when I was about two years old. Coloring books and paint by number sets were my only exposure to art until I was mesmerized by Michelangelo’s Pieta at the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens, New York. In 1968 I began studying mathematics at Bradley University in Illinois but after one semester, encouraged by friends, I changed my major and entered the College of Art. At 18 years old I walked into my first art class and found my passion. Since then this passion has defined my life.

Graduate school in Amherst Massachusetts is where I began to find my voice as an artist. I was transfixed by the color and texture of the natural world around me and started to reference the landscape in abstract, intricately detailed geometric work. Large areas of mark-making with colored pencil, graphite, oil pastel and pastel, over thin veils of acrylic paint, replaced the heavy paint layers of my earlier canvases.  Drawing became a more integral part of my process. In 1978 I was awarded an eight month fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown Massachusetts.  Looking closely at architecture in the landscape, my new images incorporated elements of the built world. It was in Provincetown that observational drawing became a regular practice for me. Upon returning home to Northampton Massachusetts in 1979, I became immersed in a large public art project with the Hestia Art Collective. We researched, designed, and then painted a 3600 sq ft outdoor mural depicting the history of women in Northampton. Funded by several art and humanities grants, the painting was awarded a Governor’s Design Award in 1986 and was restored by the community in 2004.

I moved to New York in 1980 where jobs at the Whitney Museum and the Blum Helman Gallery gave me immediate access to cutting edge contemporary art. While in New York I made my first trips to Italy in 1983 and 1984 and spent weeks looking at paintings by Giotto, Fra Angelico, and Piero della Francesca. A year later I moved to Boston. In 1993 I spent a week in the old city of Pompeii with a group of cultural anthropologists studying household shrines. As they measured and mapped, I sketched the niches and mosaic designs adorning the ancient walls and became fascinated with a large floor labyrinth in one of the houses. This initiated research into cross cultural symbols, which I investigated in more personal narratives entitled Internal Landscapes. I began using supports like gypsum board, mulberry paper, and limestone for work with, graphite, oil paint, watercolor and egg tempera. In addition to their appealing physical properties, they referenced traditions that informed my art.

The marriage of form and content continues to define my practice. I work with gunpowder and graphite, gouache, blood, embroidery, monoprinting, cut and woven paper as well as three dimensional installations to visually explore issues of social concern.

Artist Statement

In preparation for a large solo exhibition at Drexel University next fall, Linda Bond will be using the Artcubator as a dedicated space to explore Understanding Histories, a large scale installation project currently in progress. Understanding Histories began as a personal history lesson. Reading several works including Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, Stephen Kinzer’s Overthrow and All the Shah’s Men and, more recently, Medea Benjamin’s Inside Iran helped Bond understand the United States’ complicated history with the Middle East and South Asia. This project is comprised of a series of drawings using both text and image to chronicle significant historic moments that have contributed to the current unrest in that part of the world. When needed, additional information will be added to document current events. While in the Artcubator, Bond will be working on developing Understanding Histories into a large scale wall installation which will eventually incorporate ten country pages (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, Syria, Yemen and Saudi Arabia). Linda is currently on faculty at MassArt and is a scholar in residence at Brandeis University.