Art is a necessary practice for me, a survival technique. I think of “art” as a verb, as a creative action taken, rather than as an object made. Painting has long been my most potent method for inquiry, on most any subject. I come to the table with a question, and as the color leaves my hands, information is revealed, expanded, given form. It is how I make sense out of life, how I find truth within myself, and in the world. It allows me to kinesthetically engage with whatever is important in the moment, transforming my internal knowing into physical phenomena. This sets the stage for conscious interaction with whatever forces are at play.

Regardless of subject matter,  my acrylic paintings come into existence as a result of my various explorations of particular ideas or territories. The pieces I make are the rich residue, essentially maps of my metaphysical and psycho-spiritual travels, recording where I've been. The terrain is logged as I paint my way through issues. To paint anything truthfully, I have to actually embody it, become it, know it, be in dialog with whatever “it” is, and then find a way to give that understanding form that feels completely true.

Painting a rose plunges me into the labyrinth of petals, as I rove back and forth between silky shifting shadows and crisp curling edges. The ancient and complicated patterns of the Shri Yantras necessitate drafting of detailed patterns, and require mindfully taping triangles and lines, always teaching me something new about relationships, edges, interrelationship and oppositional forces. Six-foot long abstracts give me a playground for throwing paint, literally a dance of poured and slippery color. Floorpieces are all-engrossing--to paint them I sit in them or lie on them, literally occupying the painting. And then I get to meditate with them afterwards. Again and again.


My current acrylic paintings are often free-hanging fabric pieces which have been painted on natural hemp fabric or unprimed canvas, resulting in semi-translucent, layered, but not entirely opaque pieces. I apply layers of washes of acrylic paint to the unprimed canvas, which stains deeply into the fibers, creating an intense under-painting for all that is subsequently applied. I am driven to create layered gradations in color, juxtaposed against sharp crisp edges. Subtlety vs. intensity. The free-hanging non-stretched pieces seem sculptural in impact, though still technically paintings, consisting of interconnected strips of flickering color, floating and moving in response to the currents in the room or the winds. I also paint directly onto flat canvas, and cut and paste the canvas pieces together to create raw layers of meaning, leaving the edges of the cloth still visible in the finished pieces.

Margaret Lindsey, MFA