Linda James

Out Of the Chaos 111

Mair Gallery, COCA Christchurch September 23rd - October 12th, 2003

Fayum Soldier (Reuters) Oil on canvas.
350 x 467. 2003

Circe Invidiosa (J.W Waterhouse 1892). Oil on canvas 622x 1081. 2003.

Dance (Primavera, Botticelli, 1478). Oil on loose canvas. 1340 x 1990. 2003.
Chaos III is a continuation of the theme of chaos in relation to the shifting narratives of visual images within western culture. The current show explores the ways in which reality is woven into the structure of visual language. The artist uses pre-existing images from art historical texts and photographs from newspapers, and places them in the context of the western tradition of painting.

She is interested in using the European craft of painting to explore ideas of harmony, chaos and language. Notions of the global, colonial and historical, and the way in which these constructs move through time and space is explored.

Linda James has worked as a practicing artist in New Zealand for the last twenty-five years and has exhibited widely throughout New Zealand. She received a Creative New Zealand grant in 2003, and has been a recipient of the Olivia Spencer Bower Art Award, as well as being a runner up in the VISA Gold Art Award. Linda also participated in the Artists in the Sub-Antarctic Scheme. In 2002 Linda was Artist in Residence at Avonside Girls High School in Christchurch. Key exhibition projects have included Out Of the Chaos 11 at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Christchurch in 2002, Disegno Interno at the Robert McDougall Art Gallery in 1996 (which toured to the Judith Anderson Gallery, Auckland and the Jonathan Jensen Gallery, Christchurch), and Narrative of War: Drawing Installation at the Rangiora Public Art Gallery in 1999.
An article by Emma Bugden about Linda's most recent work can be found in the Art New Zealand Journal. Spring Issue 2003.

Battle scene. (Piero della Francesca. Golden Legend c. 1452). Oil on canvas.
403 x 553. 2003.

The artist locates herself within current theories regarding representation and historical art practice, while remaining aware of the huge history and traditions of the painting medium. This approach is innovative in that it draws on the craft of painting to interrogate its construction. This approach is of particular significance in a post- colonial society such as New Zealand, because it acknowledges the history that Europeans brought to a Pacific country, while also raising critical questions concerning its significance.

The process of using pre-existing images drawn from contemporary newspapers, books and reproductions of well known paintings enables the artist to explore the links between traditional modes of painting and contemporary hybrid arts practices such as appropriation, installation, and post-structural analyses of the visual image.

<< Out of the Chaos- Disaster I.
(Pentagon. Washington USA 2001 Reuters).
Oil on loose canvas 1350 x 1830. 2003.

The paintings I have drawn on depict images of chaos, conflict and harmony. The photographs I have used are images depicting contemporary scenes of international conflict. Alongside these are paintings that use photographs taken from local newspapers of individuals. The paintings that I am drawing on comprise images of dance and themes of war and
conflict.The installation is designed to generate a visual, intellectual and emotional interest in the juxtaposed components, both individually and in relation to each other. Deconstructing the nature of systems we use to live in the world provides a venue to expose their inherent instability. On one hand interrogating images of chaos can show the ways in which structures carry within themselves the nature of their own collapse. Simultaneously the rhythmical structure of chaos can also be seen as dangerously harmonious. The artist has an interest in exploring the structural fragility of our present point in time.


"A lot of images I have drawn on in the paintings are Reuters photographs. Reuters is an international news gathering agency founded in 1858 in London. It was the first news service to provide political and general news to European newspapers, largely to and from colonial countries. News had become a commodity which could be brought and sold. Now photojournalists as salaried employees of Reuters capture images which are sent around the world instantly by satellite, email and cable. Newspaper and TV companies have yearly contractual agreements with suppliers like Reuters to take their online feeds."
Song III Battle Hymn (Reuters) Oil on canvas 990 x 585

Discord Diptych (Reuters) Oil
on canvas 585 x 900

Discord Diptych (part 2)
Michelangelo tomb of Lorenzo de Medici 1460 x 1370

Fayum Portraits

The portraits in the exhibition have also drawn on intentions of the Fayum portraits. In the first three centuries A.D in a fertile district of Roman Egypt called the Fayum, a diverse cosmopolitan community of Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Syrians, Libyans, Nubians and Jews flourished. These people and many of their contemporaries throughout the Nile valley embalmed the bodies of the dead, and then placed over the faces portraits painted on wooden panels or linen. These paintings today known as Fayum were created to preserve the memory of each individual. The naturalism was inherited from the fourth century B.C Greek painter Apelles and his contemporaries. His devotion to accurate representation greatly influenced the future of Greek art and underlies the whole history of western art down to our own day.

Fayum Portrait Oil on canvas
350 x 470 each

'Vox Pops' and newspaper photographs of individuals and babies from local newspapers are my source for the contemporary 'Fayum' paintings which form part of the exhibition.

Existing Paintings

The paintings in the exhibition also draw on characters from historical works of art. I am interested in the way that individuals exist as painted images. The process of moving them out of their original context, allows them to be seen from a slightly different angle, while at the same time honouring the original context in which they were created.

The juxtaposition of the different paintings in the exhibition explore notions of individuality, innocence, conflict, binary positionalities, cliché, and the 'frames' through which understandings are created.

As a painter I am interested in incorporating ideas of harmony, chaos and language. Notions of the global, colonial and historical and the way in which these constructs move through time and space are explored in this exhibition.
The process of shifting images around and juxtaposing them within the craft of paintings creates a venue within which I can realise my intentions as an artist.

Baby (Oceania) Vox Pop
Gouache on paper 250 x250
(click to view enlarged)

Massacre of the Inncocents (Giotto)
Oil on canvas 1315 x 1235)

Painting Titles

Soldier II (El Empecinado Goya 1815) Oil on canvas 755 x 1820
Soldier I (Enthroned Madonna Giorgione )Oil on canvas 755 x 1820
Boy Throwing Stones Hebron (Reuters) Oil on canvas755 x 1620
Song III Battle Hymn (Reuters) Oil on canvas 990 x 585
Song IV Princess (Reuters) Oil on canvas 990 x 585
Song V (Good Government Ambrogio Lorenzetti 1337- 39) Oil on canvas 990 x 585
Discord Diptych (Reuters) Oil on canvas 585 x 900
Baby (Oceania) Vox Pop Gouache on paper 450x 320
Child (Reuters) Coloured pencil on paper 260 x 250
Discord Sleep Diptych Night and Day Part II (Michaelangelo Tomb of Lorenzo de Medici)
Oil on canvas 1460 x 1370
Massacre of the Inncocents (Giotto) Oil on canvas 1315 x 1235 (Oceania) Vox Pop Gouache on paper 250 x250
Fayum Drawing graphite, water colour and pastel on paper 210 x 320