Whitehot Magazine

Linda Colletta’s Warped Tour

Linda Colletta, installation view. Courtesy of the artist.

By HEATHER ZISES, June 2022 

HEATHER ZISES: Your approach to work is cyclical such that each piece leads to the next by incorporating remnant materials from previous paintings.  From where did this elaborate process originate and how do you differentiate between series?

LINDA COLLETTA: I think it started with hoarding paint. I love paint so much that I could eat it and roll around in it! That said I literally cannot throw away a single drop. My practice is cyclical and wasteless in that I integrate all leftovers from previous paintings, including dried paint, paint water, scrap canvas, and sections of previous paintings into future pieces. I think part of my approach also stems from a fear of ‘nothingness’--a blank canvas is daunting AF, so I use the leftovers as a prompt and problem that now needs a solution. I much prefer problem solving - mending tears, painting over blemishes, reimagining unsettling colors, all of which then morphs into entirely new compositions and a history is woven throughout a body of work. 

Because I paint on both sides of the canvas, I am continuously conflicted about which side is the front. I had one of those ‘mind-blown’ moments when I realized that if I cut a painting in half, flip one side over, tear it up and weave them together, I would have both the front and back of the painting. I was immediately excited about the new dimensionality the pieces took on, and how they hover in between 2D and 3D. The intrinsic concepts of feminism, inclusivity, ancient craft, manual labor and the pixelation of the natural world is undeniable and exhilarating for me. I plan to focus on this body of work for as long as my hands will keep working for me. 

Linda Colletta, This Doesn't Suck, 60x74 in. Acrylic, ink, paintskin on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.

This summer you launched a temporary concept space in Westport, CT. How will this differ from your studio space in Bridgeport?  Will you offer programming, or will it be more of a spontaneous environment?

The new space is a storefront, so I am using it as an Open Studio where the public can come in, see me working, see the paintings in progress, and learn more about the concepts behind the work and the physical process of each painting. It’s also a space for people to view the work IRL, so they can really appreciate the details and dimension of the work. The space is super accessible and in a heavily trafficked area.  I love being immersed in the energy of Main Street amongst so many other small businesses and entrepreneurs.  

On July 7th, I am hosting an auction to raise funds and awareness for Moms Demand Action, a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence. If you follow my process on Instagram, you know I walk all over my paintings in order to press pooled paint through many layers of canvas with my trusty Vans sneakers. After a few months they become covered in a spectacular random mess of paint. I can’t tell you how many times people have offered to buy them from me, but I was only interested in selling them if it was for a worthy cause, and gun safety and regulation is something I am passionate about, so this felt like the right moment. Future events and details will be announced on Instagram @lindacolletta and via my newsletter

Linda Colletta, Oo La La Sasson, 60 x 60 in. Acrylic on canvas, woven. Courtesy of the artist.

To inaugurate the season, you mounted a solo show of new works called Elektro-Woven. In this series, you introduce a multi-layered technique you developed called “Wovens.” Can you expound a bit more on the complex underpinnings for these works?  

I became fascinated with the intersection of Abstract Expressionism, fiber art and sculpture while studying artists like Sam Gilliam, Donna Nelson, Laura Owens, and Helen Frankenthaler. My work infiltrates weaving (traditionally women’s work) into abstract expressionism (traditionally men’s work) to demand the inclusion of women by meshing the two techniques together. With these woven paintings, I am thinking a lot about concepts like radical inclusion and exploring how words like “inserting,” “insisting,” “infiltrating,” and “inclusion” inform my work.

The woven grid zooms you into the painting to reveal hundreds of micro paintings and zooms you out through the large-scale nature of the work. I am thinking a lot about finding freedom within boundaries, as well as concepts like Nature vs. Man, the digital world, organic shapes organized by geometric lines, pixelated landscapes, maps, fields divided by fences, aerial views of cities are all contemplated and apparent. Within those constructs, each of those tiny little squares contains an entire microcosm of life, which is what transpired in the making of the Wovens. WM

Heather Zises

Heather Zises is a media professional with 20 years of experience in public relations and marketing. She is an accomplished editor and writer with focuses in digital content development and social media strategy. Her multi-award winning book, 50 Contemporary Women Artists (Schiffer 2018), is available at leading art institutions and university libraries. As Director of Communications at The Magnusson Group Heather manages digital marketing and social media campaigns for estate sales and online auctions. She is also a founding member of Ninth Street Collective, where she advises artists on professional development and conducts educational workshops. Heather began her career at Pace Gallery and Phillips, curating numerous exhibitions and site specific installations at galleries, art fairs and alternative spaces worldwide. 

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