Linda Karshan

Time Being

The first major U.S. retrospective of the Linda Karshan’s work, Time Being aims to provide an overview of the renowned artist’s oeuvre, while focusing on the development of the grid-like form, a theme that Karshan found and refined intuitively over the course of the past 15 years. The selection includes over 40 works on paper from 1993 to 2008.

The earliest drawing in the exhibition, from 1983, is like an apocalyptic storm. But in 1994 Karshan began to adopt a simple procedure of rhythmic repetition, creating grids, rows and stacks, drawn with her ‘wrong’ hand. Minimal in their means and abstract in appearance, they are charged with an intuitive energy and directly reflect her bodily engagement with the work. In a performance-based process, Linda Karshan uses timed breathing and rhythmic coordinates to draw vertical and horizontal dashes that form square-, rectangle-, and grid-like jottings. Hovering over the paper on the table “listening to those internal numbers and rhythms that guide my moves” Karshan works her way around the page, turning it counter-clockwise on the stroke of 2,4,6 or 8 before starting again. The drawings are the result of the dance, and each line is the product of daily practice, rituals strictly observed, exercises performed as ceremonies, which she defines as “drawing my being.”

Karshan draws instinctively, according to her “inner choreography.” Consequently each mark on the paper represents a specific moment in time, generated by Karshan’s internal rhythm. “The length of the line (its measure) is exactly as long as the time it takes to be made. The measure of space is the measure of time.”

The dance-like process is most evident in a 2007 video collaboration with dancer Viviana Durante and filmmakers Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, which will be projected in the gallery during the retrospective.

While the simplicity of form and elemental sign of Karshan’s drawings seem to pay homage to Minimalism’s sparseness, the anthropomorphic connotations of her work are one of many aspects that differentiate Linda Karshan’s highly individual work from the mainstream of Minimal Art. In fact, rather than planning her drawings arbitrarily, Karshan uses her own physical coordinates—her height, the length of her arms—to create her pieces. A series of drawings in 1994 is then titled: “Self-Portrait” to overtly signal this organic relationship.

Influenced heavily by her studies of psychology, Karshan draws inspiration from such figures as Paul Klee, Plato, Borges, and Samuel Beckett: in the Timaeus of Plato, for example, she finds confirmation for her belief that the universe is ordered by numbers. Her own visual language of counting and turning according to the binary rhythms of nature is not just a method in Linda Karshan’s drawings; it is a means, above all, of trying to make sense of the laws of the universe, and to articulate them to the human level.

Linda Karshan born in Minneapolis, MN, has lived in London since 1968. Trained in the Bauhaus method of drawing at Skidmore College, NY, and educated in the psychoanalytical theories of Donald Winnecott, Karshan took on her studio in London in 1983. Since then, she maintains her absolute commitment to work that is unimpinged-upon—above all those dance-like procedures that emerged in 1994. Her work is regularly exhibited in galleries in London, Cologne, Munich, New York and San Francisco. Major museum exhibitions include Sir John Soane’s Museum, London (2002); Institute Valencia d’Art Modern (2002); Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge (2003); Tang Museum, Saratoga Springs, NY (2007); and the Folkwang Museum, Essen (2008). Karshan’s work is held in the collections of the British Museum, Tate, Contemporary Arts Society, Arts Council Collection, and Ashmoleon (Oxford) in the U.K.; IVAM, Valencia; Duke Franz Von Bayern Collection and Staatliche Graphische Sammlung in Germany; Middlesbrough Art Gallery, Cleveland, The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Fogg Museum, Boston; Tang Museum, and most recently, the Folkwang Museum in Essen, which acquired 13 of her drawings.


Born 1947 Minneapolis (MN); lives and works in London

1963 Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York
1967 Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (Minnesota/USA)
1967- 68 The Sorbonne, University of Paris
1970 Slade School, London
1983 Master’s degree in Art and Psychology at Antioch University, London

Solo Exhibitions (selection)

2010 Movements, and their Images, Redfern Gallery, London, UK
2010 Linda Karshan, New Work, Rhode Contemporary, Denmark
2010 The Greek Thing, Galerie Hein Elferink, the Netherlands
2010 It’s A Greek Thing, Marina Cain Contemporary Art, Berlin
2009 Die Gegenwart der Linie, Pinakothek der Moderne, München
2009 Zeichnung als Prozess, Museum Folkwang Essen
2009 3. Biennale der Zeichnung, Eislingen
2009 Galerie Werner Klein, Köln
2008 Time Being, a 15 year retrospective, Marina Cain Gallery, San Francisco
2008 Zeichnung als Prozess, Museum Folkwang Essen (D)
2008 3. Biennale der Zeichnung, Eislingen (D)
2008 Early drawings, Galerie Werner Klein, Cologne (D)
2007 Two clear days, Redfern Gallery, London
2007 on paper, Galerie Werner Klein, Cologne (D) and Gallery N. von Bartha, London
2007 Alumni Invitational 2, The Tang Teaching Museum, Skidmore College NY
2006 galerie biedermann, Munich (D)
2006 Alles Zeichnung, Galerie Werner Klein, Cologne (D)
2005 august form 2005, Galerie Werner Klein, Cologne (D)
2005 minimal means, Kunstverein Eislingen (D)
2005 De Balthus a Zeller, Michel Soskine Inc., Madrid
2004 Innen – Aussen, Galerie Werner Klein, Cologne (D)
2004 Riflemaker Gallery, London
2004 The Redfern Gallery, London
2003 galerie biedermann, Munich
2003 A ugust form 2002, Galerie Werner Klein, Cologne (D)
2003 Kettle´s Yard, Cambridge (GB)
2002 The Redfern Gallery, London
2002 Institut Valencià d´Art Modern, IVAM, Valencia (E)
2002 Sir John Soane´s Museum, London
2001 Dee-Glasgow Gallery, New York
2000 Michael Martin Gallery, San Francisco (USA)
1999 galerie biedermann, Munich (D)
1998 The Redfern Gallery, London
1997 Sandra Gering Gallery, New York
1997 galerie biedermann, Munich (D)
1996 The Redfern Gallery, London
1995 Montgomery-Glasoe Fine Art, Minneapolis (MN) (USA)
1994 galerie biedermann, Munich (D)
1993 Montgomery-Glasoe Fine Art, Minneapolis (MN) (USA)
1991 galerie biedermann, Munich (D)
1984-86 ASB Gallery, London

Works in private/public collections

Arts Council, London
The British Museum, London
Collection Werner Kramarsky, New York
Institut Valencia d´Art Modern, IVAM (E)
Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München (D)
Sammlung Hanck – museum kunst palast, Düsseldorf (D)
Sammlung Herzog Franz von Bayern, München (D)
Tate, London
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis/Minnesota (USA)

Group Exhibitions

1985 New Talent, Allan Stone Gallery, New York
1986 Drawings, Lorence-Monk Gallery, New York
1988 The Legacy of Surrealism in Contemporary Art, Ben Shahn Galleries,
1988 William Paterson College, Wayne, New Jersey
1990 Runkel-Hue-Williams Gallery, London
1995 Redfern Gallery, London
1997 Redfern Gallery, London
1997 Contemporary British Drawings, Edward Tyler-Nahem Fine Art, New York
1997 Montgomery-Glasoe Fine Art, Minneapolis, Minnesota
1999 White Out,, Fine Gallery, London
2000 Underlying Perfection, Gallery Fine, London
2001 Unexpected Encounters, Galleria Prisma, Bolzano, Italy
2006 X-06, Marina Cain Gallery, San Francisco
2007 Portraiture: Tom Fecht, Linda Karshan, Paul Raguenes, Eyestorm Gallery, London, UK
2008 A Winter Salon, Gallery Bjorn Ressle, New York
2009 Presence of the Line, Staatliche Graphische, Saamlung, Munich
2009 L’artiste de Nunc, Brussels
2010 Reopening Exhibition, Folkwang Museum, Essen , Germany
2010 Lines in space: Paule Vezelay and Linda Karshan, England & C., London
2010 MAGNA CARTA, Marina Cain Contemporary Art, San Francisco, USA