Lin Max: Gray Matter
September 1 through October 15, 2011
Lin Max is an artist who clearly loves books. Her work plays with structures and integrates images, text and stitching in a way that creates a visual poem, hinting at meanings and associations but allowing the viewer to read between the lines. She received her BA from UC Davis and her MA from the University of Denver and Arizona State University.
When Lin came to the gallery with work for our 2011 Artist Book Show, it was clear that she had developed a series of works worthy of a one person installation. The works center around the collected journals and ramblings of Eleanor Hugins, a brilliant, but often troubled woman born in 1925. When she passed away in 1998, her possessions came to the artist. Hugins wrote on everything - napkins matchbooks, even the matches themselves. There are mathematical progressions and I Ching hexagrams and ramblings on a wide range of subjects. As Max collages and organizes the material, we get a glimpse at the inner workings of the human mind struggling to organize and make sense of an ever-changing world.
Working with the book form has allowed me, an inveterate bibliomaniac, to integrate a number of passions into a whole—painting, multi-media collage, writing, stitching and constructing. I’m attracted to repetition, reiteration, and multiples as a way to build visual narrative and semiotic meaning. If some mystery, some questioning, arises and lingers for the viewer, I’m pleased.
Most recently I have been working with textual materials from the journals, correspondence, and compulsive, apparently incessant, scribblings of Eleanor Hugins (1925-1998), the only child and orphan of early Colorado homesteaders, which came into my possession a few years ago. My fascination (one could almost say obsession) with the outpourings of her polymathic and possibly psychotic mind is playing out in an on-going series of collages, paintings, and artist books that I lump under the rubric Gray Matter. The mother of five children, she was an insatiable reader, note taker, and cranky unmailed letter writer who found no piece of paper or matchstick too tiny to cover with her almost illegible observations, calculations, and schematics precariously linked by arrows and iconic doodles.
Weeding my way through the bits, pieces and piles of papers, notebooks and journals, I’ve been both attracted and repelled by the yellowing, coffee stained, ash-scorched paper landscape of her encyclopedic and voracious mind. Why? Obviously, who she was resonates in some strange way with who I am. Deconstructing her interior landscape, through the process of tearing up her papers to create collages, has become a compelling form of artmaking and an immense creative, metaphoric journey — Lin Max
Lin Max CV