David Linn - A Pilgrim's Progress

American Art Collector
“David Linn: A Pilgrim’s Progress”

David Linn’s heavily metaphoric paintings come out of what he sees as his ability as an artist to be in tune with the connections and currents that tie our daily, mundane world to more universal and spiritual concerns.

“The title of this particular show is Substance of the Unseen, and, like most of my work, deals with what is invisible to the naked eye but marks everyone’s passage through mortality. I feel acutely attuned to these unseen facets of our existence, and that’s why I do what I do. My art is evidence to myself of what I can’t see but feel very acutely.”

While the work may at first seem laden with symbolism, Linn doesn’t want this to make collectors feel apprehensive about approaching and understanding the work.

“I create images that might seem cryptic or strange to the viewer, but to me they make perfect sense,” says Linn. “I fashion these things and put them out there as objects of devotion- devotion to what I believe and what I feel. The things I sense and feel defy verbal explanation and lead to imagery that articulates constructs that have multiple meanings and many layers and currents that go beneath out observable world.”

For Linn, the importance of these images comes not only from their ability to visually depict these issues, but to also show the variety of ways humans connect on this fundamental level.

“The world we inhabit is not just a natural world, but a world that’s also been manufactured and constructed over thousands of years,” says Linn. “And unseen threads weave a vast tapestry that is difficult to see given the proximity of our lives to it- but it is what binds us all together and creates the universal in art. The things that artists try to present are the things that have influenced mankind for thousands of years and are what unites us to those who have long passed on.”
Linn also sees these new paintings as having deeper, more personal meanings for him beyond the more universal aspects of the work.

“My art becomes tangible personal evidence of my own passage through mortality,” says Linn. “Another type of imagery that continually appears in my work is the solitary male figure, usually engaged in some kind of cryptic ceremonious activity. The face is usually obscured or difficult to recognize and represents some universal person picking his way across the terrain of life and engaging in actions and ceremonial activities that allude to commonplace, everyday experiences.”
Images or symbols seem to find ways of reappearing in many of these new paintings. One with special significance to Linn is the talus field, or boulder-strewn field that is usually found on the side of a mountain.

“The talus field for me is a metaphor for life,” says Linn. “If you’ve ever traversed a talus field, as you try to pick your way across it, the rocks are constantly shifting and each one affects the other. As in life, decisions and actions have a profound effect, but one that is largely unseen. For me, the talus field creates a terrain in which I can place objects and figures, much like a stage.”

Linn loves when collectors take the time to stop and notice his work, especially when considering the constant assault of images and input that are delivered to us on a daily basis.

“Stop to consider the art,” says Linn. “One thing I try to generate in my work is a sense of stillness, even when some sort of activity is taking place. I enjoy the act of introspection that art can generate in the viewer and its ability to trigger as of yet unasked questions the viewer may have regarding his or her own life and purpose in life. So many things transcend the visual world, and I want to suggest that there are unseen worlds that are more meaningful than what occupies much of our daily lives. This is not a denouncement of the material world but rather a reminder that there is more than that.”
The Collectors Say… “When we saw David Linn’s The First Labor, we immediately felt a strong emotional and spiritual connection to the piece. It is a powerful painting. It causes us to contemplate many aspects, physical and spiritual, of life’s journey.