In anticipation of her upcoming exhibit, Twist of Fate, I recently visited with Linda Ellinwood at her Oakland studio on a gray afternoon that had the smell of rain in the air. Linda shares her intimate studio/living space with her handsome and charming dog, Oliver. Twist of Fate.
Our conversation meandered in and out of her life story, her education and training, her varied careers and interests including the stage (she acts and directs). Although she has both a B.F.A. and a M.F.A. and numerous exhibitions to her credit, Linda is an artist whose art has been informed by a lifetime of observation and introspection. Her sculptures evoke an other-worldly contemplation and each piece has what she so aptly calls a presence, with all the character of living creatures that may walk away or fly off at any moment. Although they are typically rather small, they are charged with energy that renders them monumental. Therein lies one of the mysteries inherent to her work because they are also virtual treasure troves of tiny detail.
As one might assume, Linda’s process is very intuitive. There is usually no preconceived theme. She responds to the organic materials she collects from friends, travels and on her walks with Oliver. There are baskets and drawers stuffed with plant materials domestic and foreign – thorns, stems, kelp, seeds, pods, pieces of wood – a cornucopia of objects each possessing a certain magic of its own. From one of these she begins the process of creating, adding to it such that acacia thorns stabbing from a branch of dried kelp and placed atop a piece of driftwood become, miraculously, a formidable creature!
Linda’s creations (I like to call them creatures) are at once witty and whimsical, serious and sinister, charming and charismatic. I would love to have one on my bedside stand but then I would have to sleep with the light on. Don’t miss this exhibit!