It was a pleasure to meet Thomas Linder and for him to allow me a brief glimpse of how he works in the studio. Thomas had a recent show at Ibid Gallery in Los Angeles titled “Primary Grid.” Thomas Linder’s artistic process as a sculptor utilizes wood and fiberglass to create paintings and modular sculptures that interact with natural light. The lightness and beauty of the sculpture is how the translucent material is activated by the light to both reflect and project rainbow like planes of color. For Linder, this approach is similar to painting; Wood frames are built, fabric is stretched, and pigmented resin is painted, sprayed, and/or poured.
The less three-dimensional works use wood strip frames to create cavities for him to pour pigmented resin into. These hand-built, irregular grids loosely reference stained glass windows in how they allow the available light to pass through them. One possible reading is that geometry has been abandoned in favor of a playful, joyful interpretation of abstraction. Linder’s recent work also explores the imagery of his past in the Midwest, which included growing up around greenhouses and experimenting with LED light installations, with materials and colors of Southern California. His oeuvre is heavily influenced by the light and space movement, which blossomed in Los Angeles in the 1970s, but is a departure with its conscious reference to the human hand by how he treats the material. There is a rawness to his objects that clearly implies human imperfection and manual labor.