FORMER LAKE FOREST resident Lindy Bishop debuted her latest painted series, “This Land,” at The Gallery in Lake Forest last month in an exhibit that continues through December. The collection features stunning plein air scenes of the northern Michigan landscape, where Bishop now resides.
Raised in a small northern Michigan town, she grew up with a mix of townies like herself and classmates from surrounding rural farm and lake communities, including kids from the indigenous tribes Chippewa and Ottawa. Her childhood was spent surrounded by freshwater lakes, streams, and expansive bays of Lake Michigan as well as cherry, apple, peach, plum, pear, and apricot orchards. This idyllic, scenic landscape she grew up in also included fields of crops from corn to sunflowers and even thriving picturesque vineyards.
“’This Land’ holds significant meaning to me because of what it provides, but also in its beauty,” she says. “That’s why I am drawn to landscape as a subject.”
The exhibit also pays tribute to the land in the Lake Forest area where Bishop raised her kids with works inspired by photographs she took while hiking the Skokie Valley River Nature Preserve.
She defines her works of art and style as expressionistic and says the pieces for this collection were painted in acrylic, with some having oil over acrylic and a couple of paintings in pure oil paint.
“I tried to see and then not see, looking at detail, then getting rid of some of it,” Bishop says. “I also bent colors from their natural state to something different while looking for new harmonies.”
She hopes her pieces evoke making the ordinary, extraordinary, bringing out a shift in the viewer’s inner voice. “The show title, ‘This Land,’ could be said straightforward with equal emphasis, but imagine saying it as if the land was spectacular,” she says. “You would emphasize either ‘this’ or ‘land’ or you would say each passionately with a pause between the words.”
That, the artist says, is what this show at The Gallery of Lake Forest is all about— making decisions in art and life to edit what we emphasize in a positive and heart-centered way.
One of Bishop’s mentors was Deerfield artist Lars-Birger Sponberg, a fixture at the Labor Day art fair in Lake Forest Square who also taught classes at the Gorton Community Center. “He had a great influence on my work and ‘sensibility’,” she explains, “with the ability to sense the awesome possibility of ordinary things.”
Bishop has been back to visit Lake Forest on numerous occasions as this town holds a special place in her heart, and not just because of the lifelong friends she’s made. Her first show was at The Deerpath Gallery in 2008, under the direction of Vicki Marasco. As many of her paintings sold from that show, Bishop was inspired to continue with her passion.
“I believe my role as an artist in rural America is to cross-pollinate with other cultures, communities, art and artists, youth, and technology. It is vital to share information and experiences in art of all kinds with other artists and art events because there is a collective consciousness in how we relate to the world.”
“Living as an artist in a rural area has its limitations in the art world but has abundance in its ability to connect with people and reflect the beauty surrounding us,” she says. “But I also see my role as getting out there in the world and sharing what I see and learn in other places.”
Bishop believes that with everything that has happened and is happening with the pandemic and political divisiveness, it’s important to connect to source energy.
“That might be viewing and owning original art or by even placing your feet firmly on the land, imagining your energy flowing through to the core of the earth, and back up through you, and then out into the world while saying passionately, ‘This Land’.”
The Gallery is located at 202 Wisconsin Avenue in Lake Forest. For more information, call 224-544-5961 or visit thegallerylf.com.