This exhibition presents a survey of longtime Chicago artist Linda Kramer’s aesthetic and conceptual choices made over a period of forty years. The title of the show, “Unstable Variations 2013,” alludes to this artist’s insistence on remaining open to inquiry and possibilities over time and through various mediums. Her art addresses the ways in which we attempt to measure the unquantifiable: the concepts of Being, sorrow, and evanescence. This retrospective showcases artwork that spans several decades and, in spite of the variety of media and metaphors employed, reveals a strong and singular voice.
Few contemporary artists have been as prolific in making their own work, and, at the same time, as active at championing the work of others in the Chicago artists’ community as Linda Kramer. Kramer has exhibited widely and has artworks in the permanent collections of the Smart Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, and the State of Illinois Museum, to mention a few. Moreover, Linda has consistently been a powerful and positive influence on other artists, collectors and curators in the Chicago community.
Evanston Art Center Executive Director Norah Diedrich describes Kramer’s work as, “…simultaneously outward looking, evoking an empathy for the human condition and an occasional metaphoric poke at popular culture, and at the same time, introspective, as evidenced in the slightly unsettling self-portraits.”
Over the course of her career, Linda Kramer’s work has brought new energy and insight to the varied subjects she explores. In 1972, Kramer satirized the Playboy Bunny Playmates in her “Plateboy Bunny” series, addressing the trials of the proscribed roles of women. Her China Series images from 2002 evoke the bright silks, strength, and athletic prowess of Chinese acrobats. Doug Stapleton, Assistant Curator of Art at the Illinois State Museum Chicago Gallery, says “Linda Kramer stands between the realm of the tangible worldand the realm of the unseen. I think of her as part alchemist and part commentator—deftly manifesting and mapping the terrainof emotional flux and volatile transmutation of substance.”