CONTEMPORARY ABSTRACT artist Linda Ann Weber has a new exhibition featuring her abstract works at The Gallery in Lake Forest, with an artist reception planned for March 10. The show’s title, Evolving Attitude, was chosen by Weber partly as an extension of her previous two Art Attitude shows, but mainly, as a call-out to the volatility of society’s collective mindset and attitude amidst the pandemic and political climate. “The state of our well-being is constantly shifting and greatly impacted by political, economical, and emotional fluctuations,” Weber says. “I wanted to tap into what people have been feeling and offer a place of escape through my artwork.”
Weber describes her creative process as serendipitous. When asked about the inspiration for her abstract work, Remembering Lake Winnebago, she smiles. “Ah! The title came after the work was finished. Looking at it, I was reminded of the way it felt to be at my grandparents’ cottage on Lake Winnebago. The feeling of swimming in the lake, the feeling of happiness and freedom and summer as a child. But the inspiration for the painting itself? There wasn’t one—other than what I was feeling and seeing in the moment working with these beautiful blues and aquas and greens. None of my paintings are meant to look like a specific landscape, but sometimes, they do.”
For Weber, color and pattern have always simply flowed. As a little girl, sitting down with pile of markers or crayons, she would take a blank sheet of paper and start making patterns until the whole space was filled. “The colors and shapes just came. Nothing was planned, it was just intuitive,” she says.
Growing up blocks from the lake in Evanston, Weber was encouraged in artistic expression by her mother who painted and drew, and by a sister, who is also an artist. Weber’s natural knack led her into a career in graphic arts. She spent a few years in packaging design before moving to publication design, shaping magazines and books, and leading teams as a creative director for Morton Grovebased Publications International. A stint living in North Carolina then led her to explore freer forms of artistic expression. In Charlotte, Weber met the owner of Blue Pony Gallery, which had a press and specialized in exhibiting monotypes, etchings, woodcuts, and other art made with printmaking techniques.
“I was really drawn to printmaking and started taking classes there, making monotypes and monoprints where I would put a piece through the press several times, adding different layers of drawing, collage, and ink. But I wanted to explore other forms of art and so, I started painting.”
By 2013, Weber was painting full time, creating multiple series of smaller abstract work and larger individual works. Initially, Weber says segueing from graphic design to facing a blank canvas was challenging. “Since the paintings come from within, it can make you feel vulnerable, like you are baring your soul. Also, when I was working as a designer, there was always somebody standing over your shoulder saying, ‘Make this red’ or ‘Use this font.’ Now—all of a sudden—it was total freedom, which at first felt terrifying but then became very empowering.”
Like her childhood drawings, Weber’s work today is still abstract and intuitive. Working with acrylic paint, pencil, crayon, paper collage,
and glazing mediums, she builds each composition in layers. Until recently, most pieces ranged in size from about 30 x 30 inches to 30 x 40 inches. The addition of a new, larger studio space at her home in Winnetka means she will be adding larger-sized compositions to her body of work.
Evolving Attitude runs through March 31 at The Gallery, 202 Wisconsin Avenue, Lake Forest. To register for the March 10 artist reception, visit exploretock.com. In-person viewings can be arranged by calling The Gallery at 224-544-5961. View more of Weber’s work at www.lindaannweber.com and on Instagram at @laweberartist.