PPOW is pleased to present Hearts on Fire, Judith Linhares’ (b. 1940) first solo exhibition with the gallery. Rooted in the California Bay Area Counter Culture of the 60s and 70s, Linhares’ practice combines modes of abstract expressionism with Bay Area figuration to create uniquely irradiant paintings. Linhares, whose prolific career spans nearly four decades, is now receiving due recognition for her lasting influence on feminist figuration and its recent resurgence.
Hearts on Fire, a title that references the commercial name for a particular cut of diamond, describes a singular fantastical universe in which men are removed from the pictorial landscape. With her distinctly lush, almost edible, colors, Linhares depicts mythological women communing with nature alongside colorful portraits of farm animals and floral still lives. In works such as Saturday Morning, Linhares reimagines the genre of history painting with her long-limbed female figures who, when left alone, express a joy and languid ease. Sexual without being sexy, these Eves lay claim to their domestic and natural landscape. Whether climbing trees, riding on horseback, or delighting in drunken revelry, the sirens of Hearts on Fire toil together to build fairy tales and mythologies all their own.
Beginning each work with an exploration of the paint itself, Linhares utilizes abstract fields of color to gradually pull out her subjects. Fueled by the permissive, psychedelic atmosphere of the 1960s, Linhares continues to investigate the relationship between the conscious and unconscious – her dreams often providing her work with their mythic narratives, characters, and kaleidoscopic compositions that pulsate with color. Her dream journals were recently acquired by the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.
Born in Pasadena, California, Judith Linhares lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees from California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA. In 1978, Linhares was included in the influential Bad Painting exhibition at the New Museum, organized by legendary curator Marcia Tucker. Since then, she has exhibited widely. In the early 1990s, a traveling survey, Dangerous Pleasures: The Art of Judith Linhares, toured museums and galleries on both coasts. She has participated in group exhibitions, including the recent Order and Nature, at Anglim Gilbert Gallery at Minnesota Street Project, San Francisco, CA and State of the Art at Parkland College, Champaign, Ill, curated by Gladys Nilsson. Linhares is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and has received multiple grants from the National Endowments for the Arts. Her work is held in many permanent collections, including the de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY.