Through a meticulous and unique process of mark making, Linda Stark produces paintings and drawings that challenge preconceived notions and societal expectations of femininity. Stark contrasts imagery that is often associated with women, such as animated hearts, jewelry, and dresses, with more grotesque or mystic images, such as insects, genitalia, and ancient ruins. These intersections often render the work as psychedelic or cartoon- like. Each of Stark’s pieces can take over a year to complete, due in part to her complex techniques, including a process of rotating the canvas throughout the production of the painting. This technique allows the oil paint to dry in particular ways that produce sharp details and precise grooves, intensifying the illusory experience for the viewer.
The collection of work in Made in L.A. 2018 spans the course of Stark’s career from 1995 until today. It includes Rainbow Pierce, a seductive painting about feminine ecstasy in which two erect nipples confront the viewer and return the gaze, and Stigmata, which the artist painted over the course of five years while looking at her own palm under a magnifying glass. Stigmata references the biographical significance of palm lines and the notion that the mark of stigmata, a recurring wound and a sign of devotion, can also be a metaphor for feminism. In her most recent series of posthumous portraits of cats she explores new ways of thinking about community and alternative familial structures. In Self-Portrait with Ray, Stark’s long-term companion cat is portrayed inside the artist’s third eye, within a rose-colored traveling orb, which is how she claims he used to pop into her head when she was away from him.
Linda Stark (b. 1956, San Diego, California) works in Los Angeles. Stark received her BA from University of California, Davis, in 1978, and MFA from University of California, Irvine, in 1985. She has had solo exhibitions at Jenny’s, Los Angeles (2017); University of California Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive (2013); Angles Gallery, Los Angeles (2011, 2007, 2006, 1999, 1998); and Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, California (2002), among others. She has been included in group exhibitions at Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (2017); Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California (2017); ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, California (2016); Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Los Angeles (2016); Vincent Price Art Museum, Los Angeles (2013); Otis College of Art & Design, Los Angeles (2013, 2012); and Harris Lieberman, New York (2012), among others. She is a recipient of California Community Foundation Artist Fellowship (2008), City of Los Angeles Visual Artist Fellowship (2001), California Arts Council Visual Artist Fellowship (1998), and NEA Visual Artist Fellowship (1995, 1992).