(The Shadows Beneath by Michelle Lindblom)
There is a little personal philosophy in every painting Michelle Lindblom creates. “I’m always expressing what’s inside of me,” she explains. Lindblom writes a monthly blog about her inner reflections and then uses them for artistic inspiration. Her abstract acrylic paintings and monotypes are showcased at Red Chair Gallery in May.
Lately, Lindblom has been blogging about the values of solitude versus human connection during the COVID-19 pandemic. She writes that solitude “allows us to reflect on who we really are,” which may be scary or difficult if we don’t fit into the cultural norm. Pondering in solitude during the lockdown, she concluded that her past included “a lot of pretending to keep the peace,” a behavior she is now beginning to shed. Shedding attitudes, behaviors and beliefs that no longer serve her is a constant theme in her work.
Although the past year has been filled with solitude for many, Lindblom has been learning to deal with human connection in a new way. Her daughter, who was working through a substance use disorder for years, came home to Bend this last fall. Lindblom realized that their past relationship, consisting largely of texting and phone calls, felt superficial and she sought deeper ways to connect. The two of them took daily walks in nature with the dogs, during which deeper more meaningful conversations emerged. This has strengthened their bond and facilitated her daughter’s healing. In our smart phone culture, “We have a skewed view of what connection is,” she notes. “Being open toward other ways of connecting is vital.”
All of these musings about inner feelings show up in Lindblom’s work. For example, the painting here, titled Shadows Beneath, shows “nuances of shadows… that will remain hidden until a crisis (occurs) or we allow them to surface through time, space and solitude,” she writes.
Lindblom, who has an undergraduate degree in visual art from the University of New Orleans and an masters in fine arts from the University of North Dakota, taught art for 24 years at Bismarck State College. She and her husband had always dreamed of living in the Northwest and eventually moved to Bend in 2015. She especially enjoys being close to nature here and uses elements from the natural environment to add to her work.
In the Midwest, Lindblom had many solo exhibitions at venues and galleries around the region. She is a member of the National Association of Women Artists and has been juried into several exhibitions, four in New York City. Here in Bend, she has participated in exhibitions at various venues. In 2020, she showed her work at The Alexander, Oxford Hotel and Franklin Crossing.