Lindsey Landfried

Lindsey in her studio in State College. Photo by Emily Burns.

Lindsey in her studio in State College. Photo by Emily Burns.

Lindsey Landfried currently lives and works in State College, PA.  Her work has been exhibited recently at SPACE Gallery of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Millsaps College, Mississippi State University, Roanoke College, Takt Kunstraum Tapir, Momenta Art, and Space 4 Art: San Diego.  Landfried was a 2014-15 recipient of a Pollock-Krasner award and a 2013 fellow awarded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for artistic practice.  She has completed residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Takt Kunstraum Tapir Berlin. Featured in New American Paintings and winner of the 2015 jurors award at the UNC Asheville Works on Paper Biennial, she is represented by KWADRAT Berlin and Galleri Urbane.

Working between painting, drawing and sculpture, my works on paper are accumulations of text-sized loops. I exaggerate a single mark to a point dangerously close to absurd.  Through my repetitive process, I investigate dichotomies of hand versus machine, casual versus monumental, and monotony versus meditation.  The drawings appear as documents of a stable process—the same motion again and again.  However, the resulting surface is marred, noisy, staccato, and inconsistent.

Recently, I have endeavored to discover how the scale of the mark and the weight of the material can act in concert.  For example- a tiny mark on cotton rag paper.  The structure of the cotton rag paper is a grid, and when the mark has a weight and density similar to the weight and density of the fibers of the paper, the mark seems inseparable from the material.  The mark making isn’t on the surface but instead feels integrated. When this integrity between mark and material is accomplished, the resulting drawings are no longer images but a new material.  In the case of the tiny mark on cotton rag paper, the drawing becomes like a textile, not like a drawing of a textile, but a sheet of paper acting as fabric.

Through examining how this transformation from mark on paper, into new material can occur, I’m heading away from the picture plane and into the realm of objects. 


Q&A with Lindsey Landfried
by Aaron Ziolkowski

Hi Lindsey. What led you to this current body of work?
These marks have been the primary material of the drawings for about 5 years now. The long format inquiry and time spent with these marks has made me quite fluent in them in many ways. Like language, the variation within the form appears boundless to me. 

The genesis of this work took place after I had spent a period abroad, feeling displaced yet satisfied.  Influenced by the noise of cities where the language wasn’t my own, the scrawl of text indecipherable to me, I wanted to bring some of that into the drawings.

Talk a little about your process.
The works usually begin in the same way—I have a size in mind. I use an architectural rendering pen filled with acrylic paint. Writing or filling the page from left to right, top to bottom, I work until the page is covered.  The process is very 1:1 in that regard, nearly every moment of time is visible at the end. Next to nothing gets taken back or edited out. While that part is constant, the variations on the theme take me to new and unexpected places each time. I don’t set out to make a particular piece, it just happens while I’m working.  Then I tear the sheet off, and begin the next one. For me, I’m interested in the way the singularity of the act can slip so quickly from being strictly labor, to a state of flow, and then on to rote repetition.

What does scale do for you? I can't help but think of pointillist painting in which a resolved image at a distance breaks into an infinitude of small gestures.
That distance between the experience up close and the collapse of the individual unit is key for these works.  Like the pointillism there is an apparent transparency to their facture. People often hold their hands near the drawings and motion in the air or tell me about how they doodle. I think of my work as radically slow—sometimes that even seems political. Recently there has been much ado regarding the role of artists as activists or art as an impetus for social change. In a simple way, drawing by hand and doing something that is slow compared to market behavior, feels radically dissident. The process frames my value systems. In the large works there is more to spend time with, both for the viewer and I. Works don’t have to be large to do this, but I want someone looking at the drawing to feel a different sense of time of place. 

How do the folds and margins function?
In page layout the margins often come first and the columns and leading sizes come after. Like in print design, what is left blank establishes the feel of the page—it can keep the marks contained or from falling off.  In the smaller drawings they can be a place to hold or a place that suggests taking notes or binding. I also refer to the blank spaces between marks as margins. The folds are almost a brushstroke—they are a way to bring weight and light onto the surface. The works are best when they feel like a weft of fabric cut from a bolt.

The repetitive quality of the mark seems like an act of erasing the author. To what extent do you want your art to speak about you as an individual or would you prefer it remain more autonomous? 
With process based work, I wonder about the role of authorship. I want to tell you that anyone could make the drawings, but it is just not true. I've experimented with how clearly I can communicate the drawing work to someone else. What would the work look like if someone else made it? It a way of discovering where I'm making decisions that I don't realize, where my senses are colliding and taking their own course in the work.  As far as what the work speaks to when I’m not in the room, I prefer it to remain autonomous.

You've been experimenting with some new materials lately, where do you see your work going from here? 
The work is asking to live other places than on the wall. Things are beginning to become cross sectioned by their architectural containers and other materials are now breaking up planes like section drawings of scaled models.  I'm also using some ceramic processes to take the lines off the page. I'll let you know what happens!

Any exciting news or upcoming exhibitions you would like to share?
Yes! I have work included in the group exhibition, Maker Marks, which is curated by Alex Gingrow & Michael Scoggins. It opens Monday, February 29th at The Edwin W. Zoller Gallery, at Penn State University. My work is also included in the group exhibition Borders, at Owens College. The exhibition is curated by Sarah Rose Sharp and the Opening is Thursday, March 3rd.

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your work and talk with us!

To find out more about Lindsey and her work, check our her website.