Linda Frimer’s exhibit, Beckoned by the Light, runs until Feb. 23 at the Zack Gallery. (photo from Linda Frimer)
“Since I was a child, I’ve always looked for the light – in the forest near my home and in the stories of my family. All the paintings in my show were inspired by light, the light of creation,” said Linda Frimer.
The exhibit, Beckoned by the Light, opened at the Zack Gallery on Jan 30. Originally, Frimer thought that her show would open simultaneously with the launch of her upcoming book, Connecting the Dots, and this is why the gallery exhibit opened in conjunction with the Cherie Smith JCC Jewish Book Festival. But life interfered, and the book is still a work-in-progress. Nevertheless, Frimer told the Independent, “I decided to go ahead with the show.”
Frimer’s paintings are beautiful, suffused with light. They are closer to impressionism than to realism, but every piece is unmistakably and uniquely hers. Light bathes the trees and the streams. It filters among the branches. It soars on dove’s wings over brilliant abstractions and illuminates mysterious paths winding through the woods. Light bursts into explosions of gladness and swirls like dancing fairies, inviting gallery visitors to share the luminous joy, to rejoice in the rainbow of colours.
“When I paint, I want to be positive,” the artist said. “Life is hard. That’s why I want joy in my paintings.”
To express her joy, Frimer uses bright colours, including gold and silver. “Gold and silver are great for all the recurring symbols in my paintings,” she explained. “One of my favourite symbols is wings – wings of the birds, like a dove, which is a metaphor for light.”
Another symbol that appears frequently is a tree. “Trees have wings, too. Sure, they are rooted in earth, but they reach for the sky, for the light,” Frimer said.
One more symbol populates many of her paintings – a flower, specifically a sunflower, which always strives to stretch higher, to touch the sun.
And then there are paths, roads to the light. Or to a better place. Or to someone you love. “I love people,” she said. “Love being a member of a group. I’m a member of several different groups.”
One of her groups – with five artist friends – attended her opening night and brought a gift: a wooden staff adorned with symbols of her art. Each object that was attached to the staff was created by a member of the group.
“We met through a project of the Hebrew University about 15 years ago,” Frimer said. “Now, we meet regularly, support each other in life and art. Whenever one of us has a show, the rest of us always make something symbolic for her.”
The group comprises Frimer, Nomi Kaplan, Lilian Broca, Barbara Heller, Sid Akselrod and Melenie Fleischer. “We call our group Five Hens and a Rooster,” Fleischer said with a laugh, as she presented the group’s gift to Frimer.
Music also plays a big part in Frimer’s artistic life. One could almost hear notes thrumming in her imagery. “I often listen to music when I paint,” she said. “I even dance sometimes. I love classical music, pop, all kinds, really.”
Frimer always starts a painting with an idea, but then her imagination takes over. “I follow my intuition,” she said. “Painting is a spiritual act for me. It’s like meditation. I love the process, the magic of creating. It’s wonderful to be able to express all that positive energy.”
In her opinion, everyone is an artist. Not necessarily a visual artist, but we all create in our own way. “It’s about how you feel, how you express yourself,” she said. “The process is much more important than the end result. I taught art a lot and I facilitated several healing artistic projects. It is great when I can help people tell their stories through creativity.”
Her new book is about that, too. “It’s my life story through art,” she said. “There are also creative exercises there, and some essays about different aspects of creativity. It’s about the healing power of the arts.”
Many of Frimer’s canvasses are large, expensive, fit for corporate headquarters or ballrooms, but the artist wants more than to sell her paintings for profit. “I believe in art reaching the public, being accessible. That’s why I make reproductions of my own work,” she said. “I make posters and giclée prints in different sizes. While my original paintings might not be affordable to many, anyone can afford a small print or appreciate a poster.”
In the same spirit, she often makes donations of her art to hospitals and synagogues. “When a painting hangs in a hospital,” she said, “I hope it might make someone feel better, help with their healing. In a synagogue, I hope my paintings might inspire and support. I studied colours and how they could aid in healing a body or a spirit. I even wrote about it in my book.”
Frimer’s bright paintings are permeated with hope and energy. They are celebrations of possibilities, as if the artist sees everything through the lens of optimism. And she shares that optimism freely with all of us.
Beckoned by the Light runs until Feb 23. For more information on Frimer and her work, visit lindafrimer.ca.
Olga Livshin is a Vancouver freelance writer. She can be reached at [email protected].