An exhibition of work by the distinctive and unusual artist Linda Ryle is now open in the Lake District.
Linda Ryle was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. She trained at Goldsmiths’ School of Art, London in the 1960s, and now lives in Cockermouth and is married to the painter Julian Cooper.
The exhibition, at the Heaton Cooper Studio in Grasmere tomorrow, brings together work from the 1970s to present day. Some of the pieces on show are samples of the painted leather belts which Linda designed and produced for the shop Ace on Chelsea’s Kings Road (and later at Covent Garden market). The clientele of Ace included singers, actors and celebrities such as Elton John, Lulu, Bianca Jagger and Brit Ekland, who all bought her belts.
These covered the period from 1974 to 1983. The work was mostly sold in London, but also in New York and the South of France.
In 1983 Linda returned to painting. Her main subject matter was animals, in particular cats, but often farm animals too. It was also around this time that Linda began to publish cards of some of the paintings, which over the years amounted to 26 subjects and two prints.
All the animal paintings were signed as Linda Cooper, but by 1984 she was making paintings which did not fit into that category. There was, for example, a series of small canvasses based on dreams, after she had become immersed in the ideas of Carl Jung, the analytical psychologist.
By the end of the 1980s some paintings involved figures and these could be seen as a bridge between the animal paintings and the work that was to follow
Linda’s first solo show as Linda Ryle was in 2004 at the Percy House Gallery in Cockermouth where Julian and Linda were then living, having moved from Ambleside in 2002. The paintings of trees, river and beck had begun in the late 1990s, inspired by the sound and movement of wind through leaves and branches, sunlight on pebbles, the drag and flow of reeds.
The house in Cockermouth, built in 1712, has many old features – beams, spice cupboards, worn cellar steps. These became a new source of inspiration which Linda has been developing over the last 10 years, using objects – often ancient – in carefully chosen settings to capture fleeting moments in time where they are transformed by light and shadow.
Last year Linda exhibited 16 of these paintings at The Association of Jungian Analysts in London.
She says: “I take great delight in making an image which creates an illusion of space and different surfaces. I work mainly from photographs and sometimes from life, but never with the aim to produce something photographic.”
Linda has gone on to paint other spaces. The blue rope that was there and perfect, waiting to be painted, another niche painted as she found it – empty. But several months later, having purchased an ancient Egyptian Offering Cup – 3000 years old, she knew it had to go in the empty niche painting. Linda felt that something else was needed, and just knowing that meant her unconscious did the rest: on a walk, a rose hip caught her eye, and proved to be the tiny touch of extra colour.
Director of the Heaton Cooper Studio, Becky Heaton Cooper said: “This will be a very exciting departure for us. It is completely removed from anything that’s usually on show here in the gallery.”
Time Regained: an exhibition of past and present work by the painter Linda Ryle runs at the Heaton Cooper Studio, Grasmere, until the end of October. Details: www.heatoncooper.co.uk