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Mary Lingen
Backus, Minnesota


I’ve found calm in walking in the woods and seeing the world around me, observing its changes, looking forward to the way the light looks at certain times.

This is what I paint. It is a place that I know well and yet it often seems a strange land to me, as if I’ve never been there before.

Impressionists used a dash, pointillists a dot, Cezanne a rectangle, and Chuck Close goes wild within a grid—-and yet our minds can easily translate these shapes into a representational image. It occurred to me that any shape can be used and that shapes have expressive potential. It also illustrated that one can view a painting from a distance and have one experience, and have a totally different experience when viewing it up close. Representation and abstraction coexist in the same work.

My paintings are executed with thin, flat paint. Brushwork and texture are absent, as they interfere with a clear reading of the shapes, lines and colors. My focus is on the complexity within the landscape, and on connecting the parts into a whole. Each painting is a universe onto itself, with a distinct visual logic.

People see all sorts of things in my paintings, some of which isn’t intentional on my part. It reminds some of stained glass, mosaic, quilts, maps of city streets, or digital technology. By putting my work out in the public, I let go of some control. People bring their own experiences and intelligence into viewing art.

—Mary Lingen

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