Lind a Whitney "Quilled Cape Woman" & "Little Shawl Dancer"
This month I'd like to bring you a little something from my own collection. "Quilled Cape Woman" & "Little Shawl Dancer" are exquisite mezzotints from Linda Whitney's "Regalia" series.
I got to know Linda after joining the International Mezzotint Society. Linda organized several exhibitions featuring work of IMS members, including myself. After our founder Dr. A. David Crown passed away, Linda became Assistant Director of IMS. She is also Professor Emeritus at Valley City State University, ND.
I have long admired Linda's skill with the mezzotint technique and have sought to learn as much as I can from her. I was intensely focused on Linda's technique yet failed to notice what she was saying with her work. That all changed when I saw the prints from her "Regalia" series. I fell instantly in love. As an artist myself, I marvel at her skill in creating a visually interesting dance between light and dark while simultaneously giving the viewer beautiful little details of each quill, feather and bead. I also feel a strong connection to the subject of her work. From my first American history lesson in elementary school, I have been entranced by our native people, their culture, their arts and their dance. My mother took me to a local Pow Wow, and it was there that I learned about the dances and the meaning stitched into every regalia.
Linda's husband is one of these dancers, but confesses that she cannot dance herself. So Linda participates by lovingly helping to create regalia and creating spectacular prints of the dancers.
"I am interested in the texture and the movement of the dancers. When I get it right I hope there is a glimpse of spirit of the dance...The feeling of the drums vibrating in one's chest, the sound of the songs, the athleticism of the dancers and the beautiful regalia they create and wear inspire the direction of my images. I try to capture the feeling of the dancers' movements whether it's the subtle steps of the women's traditional dance or the energetic approach of the women's fancy shawl dance or the men's fancy dance. Or at times the beginning steps of the tiny tot dancers. Sometimes color is an important factor, but the various textures and varieties of the time honored regalia is preeminent...The drums, the songs, the dancing and the regalia are the celebration of the magnificent and historic cultures of this continent. My process and the resulting mezzotints are my way of honoring the people and their history" *
Linda writes of her Native heritage: "In the seventies I spent five years living on the land once occupied by the Mandan and Hidatsa people. I was a farmer/gatherer/hunter and worked at learning the old ways. I experienced first hand the power of the elements and the need for the deep spiritual life. The harsh but beautiful land, the change of seasons, and the river filled up each day. The coyote's song, the stars, and the whispers of those who have passed filled the nights. It was in this old place, found in a new journal, that I came to understand my Native heritage."
For those of you near North Dakota, I hope you will have an opportunity to view her upcoming exhibition "Regalia" at the Art Center in Jamestown, ND May 17 - June 23. Two events will occur during the exhibition scheduled at the Gallery: A Gallery Talk and Lunch with the Artist 12:00 - 1:00 pm on June 6th and a Native American Celebration in the Arts Park on Thursday, June 21 from 5-9 pm.
This exhibition will feature some of Linda's newest works in the "Regalia" series, including my three favorites pictured below. These are larger scale and beautifully colored:
For more information about Linda Whitney & her work please visit: https://www.lwhitneystudio.com/
Or follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/linda.whitney.92
*excerpt source: Quick-to-See Smith, Jaune. Excerpt from "Linda Whitney: An Artist Who Loves to Hear the Coyotes Sing". Regalia: Recent Work by Linda Whitney. Plains Art Museum. 2017
READ MORE: To read the entire May 2018 issue click HERE