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20140827132136-2014_07_lindquist_duke_energy_dan_river_01 20140827132149-2014_08_lindquist_duke_energy_dan_river_02 20140827132224-2014_01_lindquist_on_land_mary_mattingly 20140827155804-2014_03_lindquist_sutton_steam_plant_marie_walsh_sharpe 20140827134238-lindquist-quint-5 20140827134249-lindquist-quint-7 20140827134536-2012_22 20140827132236-2014_02_03_lindquist_duke_energy_mccrory_dan_river 20140827132207-2014_06_lindquist_mono_lake_water_diversions
'rak'rüm (noun);
the back room of an art gallery
where artists and art lovers hang
20140831154642-lindquist_artslant_portrait__1_of_1_
Duke Energy\'s Dan River I, Greg LindquistGreg Lindquist, Duke Energy's Dan River I,
2014, oil on canvas, 78 by 68 in
© the artist
Duke Energy\'s Dan River II, Greg LindquistGreg Lindquist, Duke Energy's Dan River II,
2014, oil on canvas, 78 by 68 in
Duke Energy\'s Dan River, Greg LindquistGreg Lindquist, Duke Energy's Dan River,
2014, acrylic on sheetrock, 6 by 37.5 feet
Sutton Lake Selenium, Greg LindquistGreg Lindquist, Sutton Lake Selenium,
2014, acrylic on sheetrock, 10 by 11 ft
© installed at Marie Walsh Sharpe Residency
Untitled 0 (rozel_point_oil_seeps), Greg LindquistGreg Lindquist,
Untitled 0 (rozel_point_oil_seeps),
2014, oil on panel, 31 by 47 in
Untitled 1 (rozel_point_oil_seeps), Greg LindquistGreg Lindquist,
Untitled 1 (rozel_point_oil_seeps),
2014, oil on panel, 35 by 50 in
Lavender Pit Innerscape, Greg LindquistGreg Lindquist, Lavender Pit Innerscape,
2012, acrylic on sheetrock, 12 by 36 ft
Time for Some Water Problems in Eden (detail), Greg LindquistGreg Lindquist,
Time for Some Water Problems in Eden (detail),
2014, graphite on Archers paper, 30 by 40 in
Mono Lake Water Diversions, Greg LindquistGreg Lindquist, Mono Lake Water Diversions,
2014, linocut on metallic paper, edition of 10, 10 by 12 in
Red Hook Revere Sugar Refinery (Flattening the Remains, The Age of Steam), Greg LindquistGreg Lindquist,
Red Hook Revere Sugar Refinery (Flattening the Remains, The Age of Steam),
2007, oil on metallic on linen, 17 1/2 x 50 in
© Courtesy of Artist and Elizabeth Harris Gallery
Rustavi Relics, Greg LindquistGreg Lindquist, Rustavi Relics,
2009, Oil and metallic on linen, 27.75" x 51.5"
© Elizabeth Harris Gallery
Untitled (Stacks), Greg LindquistGreg Lindquist, Untitled (Stacks),
2010, Oil on linen, 29.25" x 40 "
© Elizabeth Harris Gallery
The Theatrics of Interior/Non-interior, Greg LindquistGreg Lindquist,
The Theatrics of Interior/Non-interior,
2010, Oil on linen, 25 1/2 x 47 1/2 inches
© greg lindquist
The Shape of Remote Futures , Greg LindquistGreg Lindquist, The Shape of Remote Futures ,
2011, Oil on linen, 32 ½" x 48"
© Courtesy of the Artist and Elizabeth Harris Gallery
Greg Lindquist painting with HVLP paint sprayer on Duke Energy\'s Dan River II, Greg LindquistGreg Lindquist,
Greg Lindquist painting with HVLP paint sprayer on Duke Energy's Dan River II

Greg Lindquist painting with HVLP paint sprayer on Duke Energy\'s Dan River II, Greg LindquistGreg Lindquist,
Greg Lindquist painting with HVLP paint sprayer on Duke Energy's Dan River II

Greg Lindquist painting with HVLP paint sprayer on Duke Energy\'s Dan River II, Greg LindquistGreg Lindquist,
Greg Lindquist painting with HVLP paint sprayer on Duke Energy's Dan River II

Greg Lindquist painting with HVLP paint sprayer on Duke Energy\'s Dan River II, Greg LindquistGreg Lindquist,
Greg Lindquist painting with HVLP paint sprayer on Duke Energy's Dan River II

Greg Lindquist painting with HVLP paint sprayer on Duke Energy\'s Dan River II, Greg LindquistGreg Lindquist,
Greg Lindquist painting with HVLP paint sprayer on Duke Energy's Dan River II

Mary Mattingly, WetLand project, Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia , Greg LindquistGreg Lindquist,
Mary Mattingly, WetLand project, Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia ,
2014
© Courtesy Mary Mattingly
Greg Lindquist is an artist whose paintings and photographs depict specific places whose political, economic and physical forces alter our land and lives. While his networks of color abstract paintings at first suggest placid landscapes, upon closer inspection appear unsettling, sickly and toxic. Lindquist’s most recent paintings have addressed Duke Energy’s spill of coal ash into the Dan...[more]


RackRoom
Surface Tension: Greg Lindquist in Conversation

New York, Aug. 2014Greg Lindquist is a painter and writer whose recent work has focused on ecological issues such as sustainability and the industrial contamination of the Dan River in his native state, North Carolina. Currently, Lindquist is showing a large oil painting in HORIZON, a group exhibition at Quint Contemporary in La Jolla, California. He is also one among many collaborating with the artist Mary Mattingly on her mobile, sculptural habitat called WetLand that takes the shape of a partially submerged row house built on a 40-foot houseboat.

Greg Lindquist, Duke Energy's Dan River I, Oil on canvas, 78 x 68 inches, 2014; Courtesy the artist

 


Charlie Schultz: The painting you are showing in Horizon is called Duke Energy’s Dan River. It depicts the coal ash spill from Duke Energy into the Dan River. Did you go there yourself to witness this disaster?

Greg Lindquist: No. I didn’t go down there, which was a big change in my process because taking photographs has traditionally been where I start. But this event happened so quickly that by the time I would have been able to get down there the actual visual evidence would have been gone. It would have been erased off the surface of the water.

CS: Where did you source your images if you didn’t take them?

GL: I worked closely with environmentalists who were on the ground from the beginning and had been taking photographs. They really helped me understand what I was looking at.

CS: How did the process of painting the picture shift your thinking about the pollution and politics that swirled around the spill?

GL: Well, I was attracted to the inherent beauty in the image. But the politics were more convoluted. I did an intense amount of news research and mapped out the relationships between the state government and Duke Energy. It’s a tricky web because Governor Pat McCrory worked for Duke Energy for about thirty years and he basically put a lot of his former colleagues in government positions where they more or less deregulated the restrictions on dealing with this industrial byproduct.

CS: That’s an interesting tension you mentioned—the inherent beauty of a polluted landscape. How do you navigate that kind of dichotomy when you’re working?

GL: Well, I think beauty has a capacity for drawing people in and allowing them a space of contemplation, mediation, a space of empathic feeling—because I think painting is always about feeling on some level. Of course in nature beauty is also associated with patterns. The vortices of coal ash on the surface of the river, they are beautiful. The fact of what they are, where they are, why they are there—the context of that beauty is actually very ugly.   

Greg Lindquist, Sutton Lake’s Selenium, 2014, Acrylic on sheetrock and concrete,111.5 by 127.5 inches, Installed at the Marie Walsh Sharpe Residency studio; Courtesy of the artist

 

CS: Bodies of water have interested you for a while, particularly the surface of water. In a catalogue essay for a solo show you had two years ago you wrote that the surface of water can function metaphorically as a site of tension between what’s external and internal. Do you still think so?

GL: I wrote that when I was doing a lot of scuba diving. For me discovering the incredible vitality and robustness of underwater ecosystems was a big change, and that metaphor came out of that experience, but it was also basically just a riff on the Freudian model of consciousness. You know, not a lot of people have a good grip on what’s going on under the surface of the ocean. I mean, we know more about the surface of the moon than the depths of the ocean. So in that way I still think underwater space can be a kind of repository for the unknown.

CS: I think the metaphor is stronger than you perhaps give it credit for. I mean, when there is a scandal in the press, the cliché phrase is always that something has been “brought to the surface.” Is there a relationship for you between the surface of a painting and the surface of water?

GL: Sure. It’s an interface. It resembles a picture plane and I think that’s the commonality because they are both mediating. They both also carry the capacity for metaphor and mutability. The way I think about a painting as being alive with all these moving pieces that are unfolding in a visual experience, that’s how I see the surface of water. Neither is really static; both have kinetic energy.

CS: Tell me about your color palette. It seems familiar and yet, at the same time, unlike much of what I see in contemporary painting. I’ve heard it described as sickly and toxic. Are these adjectives you find useful?

GL: Yes and no. It gives an easy entry into the work, which isn’t necessarily bad, but I get anxiety about that entry point becoming too easy. I don’t want my work to be reducible to a one-liner. What color is "toxic," exactly? Toxic isn’t a color.

In terms of my technique, I work with a synthetic spray gun and compressed air and I overlay a lot of colors in a sort of impressionistic network of splatters. When I can no longer easily recognize the color I’ve created, that’s when I feel like I’m getting to some place new. I think for me and color, it’s about pushing my comfort zone with what I feel can be beautiful. If I had to go back to any historical springboard, it would be my conflicted love for Monet.


Mary Mattingly, WetLand project, Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia, 2014; Courtesy Mary Mattingly

 

CS: I was just thinking of his Water Lilies, which of course are another example of something that exists on the surface of water. But let’s talk about your work on the WetLand project. I understand you are working closely with the artist Mary Mattingly on the development, coordination, and management of the garden systems. Can you tell me about that work? How does the garden function within the larger piece?

GL: We started with many different planting models, but what was decisive in the end was the process. It became very mutable because there were collaborators working on each living system: the gardens, wetlands, water, and energy. One artist I worked with, Karla Stingerstein, was especially resourceful. She sourced most of the plants from local nurseries. And a lot of these things are growing on rafts that Karla designed to float beside the boat. The idea was to create a model of interdependent sustainability, so I worked towards growing all kinds of edible plants: radishes, hot peppers, green peppers, whole beans, lots of herbs, beets, potatoes.

CS: Both projects have a foundational relationship with the surface of water, though in remarkably different capacities.

GL: They do. And both are essentially rooted in local communities. Mary is interested in creating an ecosystem that’s cross-collaborative. Even though she’s in charge, a lot depends on who is doing the work. There are not many professionals, and so there are a lot of creative solutions to problems. Things may not be done perfectly, but they are done in earnest and that lack of mechanical perfection I find rather beautiful and humanizing.

At times I might feel like I’m working inefficiently, but I’m actually learning more by doing that. So there’s a whole idea of mutual learning exchanges that have become really important to the process. And that requires the surrendering of ego, because it’s not about your way of being right; it’s about what’s right for getting the job done with what tools you have at hand and I think that’s really fulfilling on a lot of levels.

 

Charlie Schultz

 

ArtSlant would like to thank Greg Lindquist for his assistance in making this interview possible.

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