Dance II, 2017, oil on linen, 33 x 25 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Anglim Gilbert Gallery, San Francisco
Dog, 2005, gouache on paper, 34 x 44 1/2 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Anglim Gilbert Gallery, San Francisco
Fortune, 1993, oil on linen, 20 x 18 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Anglim Gilbert Gallery, San Francisco

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – August 29, 2017 – Artists’ Legacy Foundation Executive Director Pauline Shaver announced today that painter Judith Linhares, noted for her lush, raw psychological paintings, is the recipient of the 2017 Artist Award. Launched in 2007, the unrestricted $25,000.00 merit award is given annually to a painter or sculptor who has maintained sustained contributions to their field and where evidence of the hand is a significant factor in making art.

Linhares (b. 1940) will use a portion of the award to underwrite the archiving of her life’s work. Asked to comment on the hand in her body of paintings and drawings, she remarked: “The hand is under siege. But the process of drawing is a negotiation between the mind, the eye, and the hand. Drawing is placing something on a two-dimensional surface in relation to something else; it is putting a line in space.” A native of Southern California, Linhares recalled that as a teenager she would look at the abstract paintings of Philip Guston at Los Angeles County Museum of Art and study the “chunky shapes” constructed from overlapping brushstrokes that made forms convey weight and mass. “Later,” she said, “I wanted to make work that was bold for different reasons. I wanted to express a lived life with all its joys and sorrows. At the time I was a young mother and my life was deeply domestic.”

The 2017 panel of jurors included sculptor Linda Fleming; art critic, curator, and educator David Pagel; and Crocker Art Museum Associate Director and Chief Curator Scott A. Shields.

“Powerful,” said Fleming. “You see in her paintings these really outrageous decisions. She breaks so many conventions that would otherwise be unacceptable if they were not so beautiful.”

“Taut, juicy, and formally tough,” said Pagel. “The way she applies paint, and her love of material—head and shoulders above many artists working today.”I need to mix the colors myself; I need to know how the colors feel I need to be in touch with everything I do.”

“Her subjects, in and of themselves, could become illustration if handled by a lesser hand, but Linhares is always a painter first,” said Shields. “Once she lures the viewer in, the artist unleashes darker themes.”

Linhares is renowned for her ebullient, metaphysical depictions of women and animals painted in bright brushstrokes, or as art critic Brooks Adams enthused, her “strange, luminous, hard-won pictorial universe.” Ken Johnson in The New York Times argued that Linhares is “an unacknowledged inspiration for many of today’s younger artists” using paint that she “applies with hedonistic, controlled abandon.” Art critic Jerry Saltz has called her paintings “mythic, airy” and “a deeply felt fairy-tale plane of their own.” Carly Berwick, writing in ARTnews on the intimacy and affecting quality of the artist’s paintings, said “But Linhares’s bulky, extravagant brushstrokes and rich, almost edible colors, while conveying plenty of emotion, are supremely unsentimental.”