Regarding the art of Linda Stein – 1989

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ROBERT CRADDOCK
Visual Arts Curator, Jamaica Arts Center

There once was a society conceived in imbalance and violence. In this society, as the nature of the imbalance grew, so did the incidence and the fear of violence. It became such that no one was left untouched. Even the youngest comprehended the language of violence. The work of Linda Stein speaks to this society in the voice of magical transformation, about the nature of violence and balance.

At the core of the series of sculptures which Linda Stein calls BLADES. are machetes imported from China. Linda draws on her awareness of calligraphy to produce formally elegant work, which is at once frightening and fascinating. In Chinese calligraphy, a character is built around a central element,. called a radical. In the BLADES sculptures the machetes function in much the same manner. They become the central element, both conceptually and formally, to which Linda seamlessly attaches all manner of found objects. The resulting sculpture, not unlike eastern calligraphy, is a melding of discrete resonant units, which interact to produce a multi-layered subtle and complex mean.

Linda Stein’s sculptures have richly encrusted surfaces which give the feel of ancient, ritual objects, Many are balanced in a graceful but menacing manner. They are at once powerful and delicate. The BLADES series continually focuses our attention on the fine but important distinction between the scalpel and the stiletto.