Linda Sue Price: Getting Connected at TAG
Linda Sue Price, Connections at TAG Gallery
June 12- July 7th
By Genie Davis
The idea behind the newest work of neon artist Linda Sue Price is to reflect, literally and figuratively, the diversity and interconnected relationships of life in Los Angeles and our global relationships. She illuminates both with insightful backgrounds in the shine of her abstract neon light.
Two of her series, Connections and Continents, are both on display at TAG Gallery in mid-city. With Connections, Price uses a background of fascinating, crowd-sourced portraits that highlight the demographics of Los Angeles in particular, and California in general. We see photos that reflect race, age, gender, and orientation, following the fine tradition of social realism. We see members of the LGBTQ community, the disabled, immigrants, mixed-race relationships, generational relationships. Each photo is clearly visible; small, passport-photo size, they form a mosaic behind the neon wall sculptures mounted over them. The neon sculptural forms themselves are curved and beautiful, free, floating, soft, cursive-like. They represent, or rather riff on, the traditional yin-yang symbol. Some feel like small creatures or embryos. Others evoke a mysterious language.
The exhibition links these works with unlit clear tubing through which a fine metal chain runs – literally connecting the works together.
In Continents, the backgrounds utilize a variety of lush, patterned textiles created by indigenous cultures around the world, representing seven different continents. This work, too, utilizes clear tubing and chains, forming a full wall of connected art.
Like it or not, intentionally or by proximity, globally or locally, human beings, and cultures are bound to one another. Linked both by our inexorable humanness, our oneness, and, yes, our divides, it is our own spirituality that joins us – our “soul” if you will. Price explores this beautifully, with universal, abstract neon suspended in an almost dream-like way above concrete evidence of humanity’s connection, community, and the world we all share.
The artist’s free-form bending of neon tubes and her ability to construct curved, abstract forms gives viewers a look at neon art that is completely original. Some tubes are beaded, which causes the neon, argon, and krypton gasses used to appear to be moving inside the tube. Her colors are variants of the initial neon red, purple argon, mercury and argon blue, or krypton white. With coloring of the glass tubes and/or fluorescent powders baked inside the glass tubing, she has created other, subtle color shades from pink to green and orange to gold. The effect is subtle – and as diverse as her themes of connectedness and inter-relationships.
We are not used to seeing neon in the abstract, and in creating luminous works that are essentially undefined, Price is allowing viewers to look at something beautiful without any established preconceptions. In the same way, with her photographs or textiles as backgrounds, she is introducing viewers to a new way to look at the world we think we know. We are all different; we are all the same. We are different patterns, different colors, different shifts on the paradigm of yin and yang. We’re connected: as people, through continents, through families, through the families we make from our friends and communities.
Price translates these literal truths into something more ethereal; she’s bending our vision toward each other with the same seemingly effortless sweep of her neon shaping.