solo exhibition of twenty paintings
Celebrating Life Forces: Los Cielos/The Heavens
by Leah Ollman
Los Angeles Times
October 14, 2000
Linda Vallejo’s paintings are generated by her deeply felt connection to exactly those fundamental life forces birth, nature, spirit that are spurned as quaint or old-fashioned by the hippest tier of the contemporary art world. Her recent paintings at the Social and Public Art Resources Center (SPARC) are celebratory and not the least cynical. Their beauty hasn’t even a tinge of irony. Though predictable in some respects, they please the eye and offer a welcome form of nourishment to the heart.
Vallejo visualizes the unity of all living things by layering them, so that Mother Earth and Father Sky appear as translucent figures looming large on the arced horizon. This approach verges on kitsch at times, but when it works, as in Eternal Seed, it works gloriously. Painted with a lush sensuality reminiscent of Georgia O’Keeffe, Eternal Seed pictures a standing woman merging with the sinuous, foliate forms that rise around her. She is birthed by the Earth and in turn can give birth. Cradled under one breast is a sphere, its roundness a symbol of fertility and renewal.
Drawn from a series now more than 50 strong, Vallejo’s images of the sky Los Cielos/The Heavens give this show its name and some of its more striking moments. Ruminations on vastness more than precise transcriptions of cloud patterns, the paintings range from slightly cloying and saccharine in palette to richly layered records of wonder.
For Vallejo, an L.A. native with a deep interest in the function of ceremony, these paintings serve, perhaps, as acts of prayer. For the viewer, they are at the least a soothing poultice.
Artist statement, Biography and Vita by Linda Vallejo
Los Cielos 2000: The Work of Linda Vallejo essay by Sybil Venegas
Notes From the Living Room Couch: A Collector Speaks Out essay by Armando Duron
Urban Prayers: The Celestial Imagery of Linda Vallejo essay by Reina Alejandra Prado Saldivar
Los Cielos/The Heavens Exhibition review by Leah Ollman