December 11, 2017
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Retrospective Launched for Multimedia Artist who Favors Native Maine Materials

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“The Forest and the Trees,” a retrospective of works by Leatrice Linden, will be on view July 8 to August 2 at Washington Street Arts Center Gallery. An artist’s reception will be held from 5-7 pm on Sunday, July 9. “The show is about 30 years of my art working in Maine utilizing native materials in the pieces as well as being inspired by those materials,” says Linden.
Linden, born in Brooklyn, N.Y. and trained as a ballet dancer at the School of American Ballet, fell in love with the Maine Coast in the 1950s when she came to Bar Harbor for a dance camp. During the 1960s, while working as a textile designer and fiber artist in NYC, Linden summered in Eastport and Perry. She moved to Eastport in 1970, joining a group of NYC artists working in the area. Over the following decade, Linden built a log cabin and an octagonal studio with trees logged in her own forest in Perry, and raised sheep whose fleece she sheared, spun, dyed and wove.
In 1980, Linden headed south to Miami, FL where she taught weaving at the Miami Beach campus of Miami Dade College. She returned to Perry for a few months each year to work in her forest studio. This was a transition time in Linden’s life. She stopped weaving in the mid 1980s to make time for a new passion for painting, and she married artist/curator Bill Humphreys. Visiting Maine in1988 with Linden, Humphreys in turn “fell in love with Maine”. Now retired, the couple spends half the year in Perry, making and exhibiting art. The wood cut from their land continues to keep the studio warm.
After years of building and heating with wood and living in the forest, Linden feels that wood “speaks to her”. Her paintings on wood are inspired by the tree forms she finds in off cuts from lumber that is being used for building or is salvaged from old houses. One tree that was to become stair treads was saved from that fate when Linden turned it into a large tree totem.
Recently, Linden has integrated woven branches in older tapestries. The tapestry installed over the front desk at Eastport’s Peavey Memorial Library is an example of this work. She also is working with branches as independent structures. Linden explains “the ecology of place influences every work no matter my medium, what goes into a piece and what the finished work communicates is so much more complex, embodying art history, color, the forest and my emotions.”
Washington Street Arts Center Gallery is on the first floor at Eastport Arts Center. Gallery hours are 11 am-4 pm, Tuesday-Friday, by chance or appointment, or during EAC events. For more information, please visit www.eastportartscenter.org, or call (207) 853-4650.