My paintings and prints are serious in nature; my sculptures and assemblage pieces tend toward playful and whimsical. In both, content is central. I play with ideas - challenging and expanding the relationships between the visual and the written word, or finding the obscure relationships between objects.
Trauma Always Leaves A Scar © Bette Linderman, 2010
My paintings and prints often stem from passages found in various literary works as I use the text as a starting point from which to meditate on themes of loss and remembrance.
Unlikely Souvenirs of A Life Interrupted © Bette Linderman 2002
While these works are initially conceived around memories of loss and sorrow, they evolve into larger musings and reflections that encapsulate fond and pleasurable memories as well. As such, I use my art as a means to better understand the world and myself by positioning common ideas in new settings that challenge and change our connotations. As such, I invite viewers to likewise approach these pieces as a means of investigating themes and ideas presented in a new way – one that is profoundly personal and yet strangely universal.
In my assemblage pieces, I explore the residue of memory and the emotions of nostalgia, aiming to elicit both the comfort of the familiar as well as the unsettling quality of the uncanny created by new and different juxtapositions. Working with images and ideas from my youth and integrating found objects, texts, and images of more recent vintage, I have layered various ideas both physically and figuratively in the hope of provoking new ways of looking at cultural icons and relationships between objects. While some of these works are clearly playful, many derive from a deeper contemplation of the connection between fun and sorrow, pleasure and pain, presence and loss.
Cracker Jack Dreams: Diamond Ring © Bette Linderman 2005
In the Cracker Jack Dream Series, I transpose the youthful and optimistic expectations that once surrounded our opening of a Cracker Jack prize to our adult mindset where we have developed new and bigger dreams of what would be the “best prize ever.”
Vending Machine Heart, © Bette Linderman 1998
The Heart Series began in 1994 with the production of She Didn’t Expect Her Relationships to Last For Long (aka, Revolving Door Heart) for San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art’s then-annual Valentine Show. The on-going series has since expanded to encompass approximately sixteen assemblage/construction sculptural works that revolve around the concept of love and relationships. The series investigates the multiple, and sometimes ironic, manifestations of relationships. One of the most popular hearts to date is pictured at the top of this page, Swiss Army Heart.
I don't intend for my works to provide clear meaning or a direct answer. Rather, the relations between the various elements in my work promote ongoing questioning.
All images on this website are protected under the copyright laws and may only be reproduced with the written permission of the artist.