There is a palpable vibration in the work of Anne Lindberg. drawn below is a single, massive graphite drawing spanning forty-two and a half feet (the entire length of the gallery) that is engaging on many levels: intellectually, analytically, and emotionally. Formally, the overwhelming work commands my attention, daring me to tender both my mind and my spirit. Conceptually, it is dense with personal intention, but bold enough to allow room for my own presuppositions. It requires concentration to not only look but also to question – an act I feel Lindberg is repeatedly performing and is now inviting me to join her in this dramatic and mysterious self-examination.
In her own words, Lindberg states: “I frequently return to subtle distinctions between drawing as noun and verb as a long held focus in my studio practice. This blurred distinction drives my fascination with an expanded definition of drawing languages… my collective body of work is an iteration of this language.” Indeed, it is; though, it is not necessary to view her work collectively to understand this distinction between technique and idea. Classically composed using intense horizontal lines that vary from light to dark across the expansive surface, drawn below is un-contained as it explodes beyond the vertical edges of the cotton mat to the broad empty space of the white gallery wall (and even to the parallel beams stretched across the ceiling) – there is no beginning and no end, it is continuous and infinite. As I move from end to end, up close and far away from the work, I lose all spatial sense as the work encompasses even my peripheral vision. There is a constant oscillation between what is figure and what is ground, what is positive and what is negative, until both eclipse the other into something far grander, far wider, and far more isolated. The seductive qualities of her lines reflect an acute sensitivity of the artist, and I realize I am viewing the subtle signature of an individual seeking transformative psychological revelation.
Working in what Lindberg refers to as a “non-verbal place resonant with primal human conditions,” she has artfully translated the abstract and the unseen into her own system of order and structure through a distinctive value pattern that is vividly and subjectively descriptive. There is beauty and disturbance through the sensitive shifts in tone, density, and opacity resulting in visceral patterns that portray the fragmentation and distortion of our lives reduced to striations on a page, the basic rhythms and noise that are at the base of our existence. Enigmatically, through sheer proximity to the work, there are also veiled allusions here to the body; specifically, to the physiological systems of the body used in experiencing the drawing, such as: breathing, blinking, swallowing, the beating of my heart, and neurological firings. As I back away for the third time from the face of the work, I am contemplative of the fragility of the human condition and cognizant of my own physical vulnerabilities.
Through a reserved formal exploration of self, Lindberg has masterfully created a beautiful recording of her experiences that teases me with its openness, and its longing for my empathetic security and consolation. With every compliment I can conjure, drawn below is a monumental work.
Images from top to bottom: drawn below (Installation view), 2014, graphite on cotton mat board, 59 h. inches x 42.5 feet, Carrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago, Photo: Clare Britt; drawn below (detail), 2014, graphite on cotton mat board, 59 h. inches x 42.5 feet, Carrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago; drawn below (detail), 2014, graphite on cotton mat board, 59 h. inches x 42.5 feet, Carrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago, Photo: Clare Britt; drawn below (Installation view), 2014, graphite on cotton mat board, 59 h. inches x 42.5 feet, Carrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago, Photo: Derek Porter