BankRI Turks Head Gallery Presents
“Paintings by Linda King”
March 1 through April 4, 2018
The branch is located in downtown Providence at One Turks Head Place. There will be a Gallery Night Providence reception on March 15 from 5 to 8:30 pm with live music by Mark Armstrong and light hors d’oeuvres.
Exhibit hours are Monday through Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Thursday and Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 401-574- 1330 or check out http://www.facebook.com/BankRhodeIsland
MEET THE ARTIST – LINDA KING
The orange bicycle, leaning up against the apartment door in Central Falls, tells a story. An older model worn around the edges, the bike radiates a realistic optimism about the future.
The person who belongs to this bike is artist Linda King. If the bike tells a story, King has a library full of tales to tell. Most aren’t pretty. Homelessness, evictions, and un-diagnosed mental illness all contribute to what might have been a very sad ending.
Instead King, with a lot of help, has managed to put together a stable and safe life in a warm, cozy apartment that doubles as her studio.
Born in Tampa, King’s father was in the Airforce. Her family situation was unstable and difficult. She moved around a lot living in Florida, New York City, upstate New York and Italy. King attended and graduated form Spellman College in Atlanta and was awarded a Charles Merrill Jr. Scholarship to study in London. She married and had two daughters, but her health was deteriorating and at the age of forty, after seventeen years in England, King moved back to the United States to seek help. She was in her fifties when she received the diagnosis that her mental health issues were the result of bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress syndrome.
Though the diagnosis was late in coming, it started her on a path back to health.
King believes that her ability to hold positions such as a researcher and event coordinator at Harvard Public Health and as an outreach worker for the Alzheimer’s Association of Boston confused health practitioners. These positions required someone intelligent, articulate and able to motivate. King was all of these things, but there was also an underlying base of pain.
King was lucky. A sharp, dedicated and determined therapist named Mary helped her negotiate her way back to a normal life. Mary partnered with King’s psychiatrist and lawyer to put together a case for disability. Medications augmented her strengths.. For the first time in years, King had a safe home, a little bit of money coming in and a circle of friends and advocates to help.
A listing in a free paper alerted King to a painting workshop at McAuley House, a non-profit organization in Providence. Here with guidance from Kathy King (no relation) and other staff members, King found her calling. “I was painting,” King exclaims, “and the people around me were excited for me.” King can’t say enough about the staff at McAuley House. The people in the workshop all faced issues of drug addiction, mental health and/or poverty, but King was impressed with the respect the staff had for their clients. “The treated you like you had a voice,” King says “right from the beginning.”
As a child, the act of painting and drawing brought King solace, but as a young adult she never felt safe enough to explore her creativity fully. Now she feels secure and is eager to learn and try new things. Her creative voice is strong and articulate, and she is developing the techniques she needs to translate her feelings into images.
The paintings are bold, both abstract and figurative, and laced with color and a resolute line. The stories are of resilience and perseverance– a young girl with her hands on her hips facing a large and imposing bull or a former slave posing with dignity as he reveals the scars on his back.
“I’ve led the kind of life that provides the raw material to make artists,” King says. “If I hadn’t experienced homelessness, I wouldn’t have made any of that work.”
King exhibits and sells her work on ArtLifting.com. She has shown her paintings at AS220, McAuley House and URI Providence Gallery. Now 65, she has been painting since she was in her fifties.
The BankRI Galleries featured the artworks of Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts contemporary artists and are curated by Paula Martiesian, a Providence-based artist and arts advocate. For additional information and images, contact Paula at 401-521-7634 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.