A cursory glance at the paintings of Linda Christensen is all it takes to see the Bay Area influence of Richard Diebenkorn and David Park. However, a longer look reveals deeply personal compositions that draw you in with their abstract yet intimate figures, heavily layered impasto that conveys deep emotions, often through body language. The works are so visceral that the figures almost appear to be moving. "Listen Carefully" shows a woman in rapt attention with her back slouching forward and her arm crooked. "White Scribble," another slouching figure, is the artist, sitting back, staring at what appears to be a canvas. Christensen openly admits that the figures in her works are her. She says, "I wasn't willing to let the paintings go out the studio door until they felt absolutely authentic. With each painting I made to find myself, to figure out what I am about, and what I need."
The works of Sherry Karver (shown), another Bay Area artist, are profoundly different in composition and technique. Yet these too reveal strong emotions. The artist starts by photographing crowds of people in urban areas, manipulates and moves the individual characters around in her computer, then paints over them, muting some, rendering others as ghosts. Then Karver invents narratives about individuals - stories about lives, dreams, hopes and frustrations that she imposes on specific characters. The final step is resin, which causes the works to glow and produces a reflective surface. In contrast to Christensen, who paints from her gut, Karver uses a complex technique to produce multiple levels of feeling.