Mary LingenMary Lingen
I graduated from Augsburg College in 1981 with a degree in Art. I’ve been painting in oil ever since. I moved on to ten acres of woodlands in Backus, MN, with my husband, Jim Kestner, in 1988. This landscape has shaped my art more than any other factor. My work is currently exhibited in galleries in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.
Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
I always work on five paintings at once, mainly because I work in oil and this allows time for the paint to dry between workings. I like this slowing down because it forces me to study the work, think about it while it’s sitting there drying. This stepping back helps me see potentials that I might have missed or corrected if I dove in too quickly. The five paintings are not a series or related to each other in any way other than they are landscapes and I painted them. The past is not something to escape from but something to build on. My development has been slow and steady, change is gradual but I wouldn’t say it’s progress---today’s work is different from earlier work.
"What is Art?" is certainly too big of a question to ask here, but how do you hope your art is perceived by your audience? Or what statement do you hope to make with your art?
Art is one of those ideas that slip out of one’s grasp as soon as you try to define it. I think there is room for a lot of different approaches to art. I was drawn to the visual arts because I found words to be inadequate-- barriers to my sense of peace. I’m not trying to make a statement, but express a personal experience of a place. When someone recognizes their own experiences in my work, I find that magical.
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
My professor in college advised me to work all the time, not to wait for inspiration.
Tell me about your working space and your creative process?
My studio is in my home. It has been a narrow, cramped room but has begun to spread to the neighboring room as well when I work on larger pieces.
Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?
Linda Deg Lee -- She’s an incredible painter!
Joonja Lee Mornes --We exhibited together at the Minnetonka Center for the Arts 2010 Biennial—I found her work thrilling.
Brad Kissel-- A great photographer.
Ta-coumba Aiken -- His work is new to me, especially like his paintings.
If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?
I don’t get to see art that often. When I go to the Twin Cities, I like to spend some time at the Minneapolis Art Institute, no more than an hour and a half at a time. I usually vary what I look at, maybe the Asian art or breathing in the giant George Morrison wood bas relief before hitting something else. Sometimes I will hit the Walker and Groveland , and Circa Galleries.
Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future? If not, Where have you exhibited recently?
From July to October I’ll be at the Nielson Place Gallery in Bemidji, MN and in October I’ll be at the Great River Gallery at the Anoka Ramsey Community College.