“Abstract work has its own way of explaining itself,” says Lina Alattar, an abstract painter at Touchstone Gallery who works in acrylics on canvas. To understand how her paintings speak, she tunes into each one by being consciously aware and open. “I just respond to the marks, because it’s the experience of painting that drives the painting.” Knowing that nothing is scripted opens the door to tolerance for “accidents” that happen during the painting process. For Lina, these unexpected happenings in the creative process preempt any preconceived ideas. Each one shows her the possibility of going in a different direction, a road less traveled perhaps. American contemporary painter Helen Frankenthaler summed it up saying, “You have to know how to use the accident, how to recognize it, how to control it, or ways to eliminate it so that the whole surface looks complete and born all at once.”
This kind of spontaneity contrasts mightily with today's automated, highly scheduled, perfectionist world—a world in which one is expected to fit alongside everyone else into cultural and corporate standards and boundaries. An end result is often the erasure of one’s innermost self and the death of aesthetic meanings that are so life-giving. “The craving for this beauty and serenity is not satisfied by materials the marketplace has to offer, but can only be sated through creative thinking and the wholeness-of-being that connecting with art can provide.” Lina notes that "cultures which value art are less focused on guns and violence than those that lack the appreciation and freedom to create and cultivate the arts."
During her childhood Lina’s family lived on three continents in ten years before settling in Nashville, Tennessee. No matter where they lived she practiced art, because at age five she knew she wanted to be a painter. With this goal in mind Lina obtained a degree in art at the Middle Tennessee State University and an art study program in Italy following graduation. Then she was ready to enter the corporate worlds of Kiplinger, the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University. Finally the call to devote her time and skills to art was strong enough to cause a change in her career path. She quit the corporate job world and set up a studio so she could enhance the community with her abstract expressionist paintings. Lina relates to the work of contemporary California artist Richard Diebenkorn, who wrote, “What I do is face the blank canvas and put a few arbitrary marks on it that start me on some sort of dialogue.” From those tracks and traces a complete and integral painting eventually appears, giving meaning to her life and to those who view her work. Her Unscripted paintings will give viewers a life-giving boost during the month of July, 2016 at Touchstone Gallery.
July 1-31, 2016; Opening Reception: Friday, July 22, 6-8:30pm; Artist Talk: Saturday, July 30, 2-4 pm
Touchstone Gallery, 901 New York Avenue NW, Washington DC 20001; www.touchstonegallery.com