The allegorical watercolor paintings of Linda T. Hurd, a selection of which are on display for the month of June in the Milton Public Library’s Wotiz Gallery, use the power of serialization to find unconventional meaning in familiar objects and scenes.
In themed sets of twelve, and most works paired with a line or two of written rumination, often in the form of an appeal to God, the paintings ask us to see our interpersonal issues represented in our surroundings.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which has been diagnosed frequently in the Everett artist’s family, and the many different ways in which brains can be wired are examined in a series of representations of telephone wires; chairs ask us about our responsibilities and choices in another set of a dozen; the wide-ranging theme of the boundaries we run into and form between one another is visually dissected through paintings of fences, walls and other literal partitions.
“It is very much personal,” said Hurd about her motivation for selecting subjects. Events or people in her life will push her to examine something more closely, and some series, such as “Laundry,” (which is not on display at the library but can be explored at the artist’s website, www.lindathurd.com) develop over the course of many years.
Hurd’s work has been displayed in libraries and other galleries throughout the region, and has been recognized in particular by ADHD and other attention deficit disorder support groups, as the condition plays a large role in both her life and her work, with both her husband and two sons diagnosed.
Hurd does not have an official diagnosis, but identifies with many symptoms of those who do. “It has been an advantage and a disadvantage,” she says, citing the struggle to stick with a single idea and to finish an entire series, while having to take frequent breaks helps with perspective and not getting tunnel vision when working on a project.
The naturalistic tone of her watercolors contrast with the straight, black lines and sharp angles of her often industrial or commercial subjects, and Hurd moves back and forth between realism and impressionism, queering their impact and conjuring a strong presence of the subconscious, reminiscent of the visual affect of Richard Linklater’s films “Waking Life” and “A Scanner Darkly.” Some pieces are haunting, others reassuring or funny.
Hurd says she is currently painting shoes as well as plants at different stages of the life cycle, though she cannot say if they will become series.
Stop by the first floor of the library at 476 Canton Ave. before July 1 to have a look. On display are the series “Wired,” “ADHD Challenges,” “Boundaries,” and, for the first time, “Chairs.”