Linda Vallejo: Artist Statement

Linda Vallejo's paintings express a tradition of respect for the healing power of nature. She investigates humanity's valuable and fundamental relationship to the natural world as detailed in the exquisite brushstrokes and delicate layering of a traditional medium. Leah Ollman of The Los Angeles Times stated, "Linda Vallejo's paintings are generated by her deeply felt connection to exactly those fundamental life forces - birth, nature, spirit - that are spurned as quaint or old-fashioned by the hippest tier of the contemporary art world." "Nature," as the artist shares, "is the final answer." Vallejo states, "Nature connects us to intrinsic truth; offering solace to our interior lives. Nature exists beyond religion, politics, market, and art."

As an artist, Vallejo asks, "Why not paint the fear and horror?" Her paintings, described as a "soothing poultice," are an alternative, an answer to the constant unanswered questions of our complex lives. Judi Jordan, writer for Latin Style Magazine concurred saying, "Wouldn't you rather draw solace from a gorgeously rendered sky, knowing that tomorrow is no longer a promise, but a prayer?"

Each painting includes layer upon layer, thin gauzes of paint; Both spiritual and technical work is needed to communicate this serenity and beauty. The technique is recognized by Leah Ollman, "Vallejo visualizes the unity of all living things by layering them. This approach verges on kitsch at times, but when it works…it works gloriously." Each facet of Vallejo's art is integrated in finely honed processes of observation, recollection, and production.

Vallejo's paintings recall a place to the viewer, evoking a sublime reality from the depths of memory and recollection. "I don't believe a healthy human culture can be sustained by destroying nature," Linda says, as she looks out the window of her Topanga Canyon home, "We need to integrate our relationship with nature as we have done so readily with machines and war. There are responsibilities that accompany life, both in art and in the natural world." Vallejo's environmental message works in both worlds.

Vallejo's concern for the environment becomes a political reality through participation in ceremony integral to native culture and land politics. She not only protects the land by painting the landscape, but also through ceremony. An essay, written by renowned collector Armando Duron, states, "Linda's art works over the past twenty-five years evoke the spirit of a Meso-American shaman chronicling the story of her people's creation and journey through transcendent time and space." Sybil Venegas, historian and educator reflected, "the art of Linda Vallejo is quite unique and distinct in its ability to integrate her personal truth and life experience into a visual whole that defies convention."

The artists states, "In ceremony anything is possible, one has to be equipped, and cognitive, and ready to carry away that experience and memory to use in life." And Leah Ollman, Los Angeles Times, observed, "For Vallejo, an LA native with a deep interest in the function of ceremony, these paintings serve perhaps, as acts of prayer. For the viewer, they are at the least a soothing poultice." Linda communicates her message through a visceral experience, which evokes the power of the natural world.

The "Los Cielos" suite of over fifty works (1997-2000), was successfully exhibited in five venues in Southern California (2000-2001), published and reviewed in two national Latino magazines, and The Los Angeles Times. Now, a new suite entitled, "Nature and Spirit - La Naturaleza y el Espiritu," a portfolio of over thirty works produced between September 2001 and 2002, including oil on canvas and paper, and gouache on paper works are a continuation of Vallejo's last major portfolio of works "Los Cielos." "Nature and Spirit" is comprised of California mountainscapes depicting the horizon line and its relationship to the human character, ancient monumental rock formations, and oceanscapes depicting deep sea life forms with intricate crystalline symmetry. These two sequential portfolios continue to express Vallejo's dedication to a healthy ecosystem and humanity's intrinsic connection to nature.

The publication, Contemporary Chicana and Chicano Art: 2002 (Bi-Lingual Press, Hispanic Research Center, Arizona State University) states, "Vallejo's significant impact originates in her distinctive ability to reconcile diverse influences of indigenous pre-Hispanic culture with a well-grounded art historical exposure. Her work exhibits a confidence and passion engaging the viewer in a rumination that is directed without depending on polemics. Vallejo's subjects move beyond mundane rhetoric with a stylistic maturity that undermines the reason of the political. Tangible and inevitable, the work of this artist sacrifices the abstract notion for the specific struggle, effectively replacing debate with responsibility. This is achieved by the successful orientation of the viewer in an erudite consideration of urbanism in decline and the imperiled position of those in its wake. For a population of Chicanos increasingly situated in the cityscapes of America, Vallejo's work is an expansive statement on the real threats challenging her community."