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artist in focus: linda burris webster

How do you describe your work?

I aim to produce work that is aesthetically pleasing, yet also has meaning behind it.  I reconstruct maps of countries, creating sculptures from them. I then photograph these sculptures, thus returning the map to a 2D shape.  Each sculpture represents something that is going on in that particular country – in my head if nowhere else

I also aim to create empathy for the invisible people of each country that I create an image of.  As the number of images builds, a collection of countries sharing issues such as women’s rights, inequality, corruption and the climate crisis is growing

What would you say are your greatest influences?

I find influences in many places.  For example, I’m inspired by the work of photographers such as Mandy Barker (whose subject matter is the plastic waste in our oceans).  I’m also influenced by shapes I see around me.  Some come from a number of skilled ceramic artists who create shapes I might try to emulate or adapt.  I might also be inspired by an abstract painting.  Sometimes I’m even influenced by something as mundane as a basket or a ceiling.  Buildings can also provide inspiration, such as the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris.  The photographer Allan Grainger (who taught and mentored me) has been a huge influence in my photography.  He encouraged me not only in producing the work, but also in attaching meaning to every piece

Who do you have in mind when you create your work?

First of all, I have in mind the people of the country for each particular map.  These are people who are experiencing difficulties and I want the world to be more aware of them.  Some of the countries I’ve travelled to and others I’ve simply read about and researched.  But I think deeply about each country that I approach in my work, because I believe it’s important that we know what is going on in the world

I also create the work for myself.  I love each step of the process, from researching each country, to identifying what I want to represent about that country, to coming up with how I represent it, to making the sculpture, to photographing it and to finishing it in Photoshop.  I love creating these images

What makes your art different, special and irresistible?

I feel my work is unique.  The use of the map in this way is quite individual.   .  I don’t know of any artist doing anything like I am today (though I’d love to see any that do!).  My work has been described as a cross between documentary and fine art photography.  I believe that the aesthetic quality combined with the meaning of each image makes my work something that can draw people in and arouse their curiosity.  There is a story behind each image, even if the language I am using doesn’t always make them immediately apparent.  I believe these stories add to the experience of the viewer

What do people say when they see your collection / portfolio? How does your art make them feel?

I hope that the first impression of my work is that they find it beautiful and visually pleasing.  And then I hope that this is quickly followed by them being intrigued and curious.   What is the meaning of each piece?  What is the process for creating them?  These are the questions I’m often asked.  And finally, I hope that people will feel engaged with not only the work, but with the wider world around us and the people whose countries are represented in the work

I also hope they appreciate my efforts to create the best work I possibly can

What do you think motivates people to buy your art? How does it appeal to the heart?

This is a really hard question!  I hope that people are motivated to buy my work because they find it aesthetically pleasing, but also because each piece has a story

Who have you sold your work to before?

I have sold my work to people who are collectors of art.  They tend to be people who are well travelled and interested in the world.  They are often people who simply respond to the look of a piece.  I did manage to sell one piece in a charity auction where there were several bidders!

Who responds to your work and why do they connect with what you make?

I think the sort of person who responds to my work tends to be well educated and well-travelled.  They like to collect art and enjoy having it in their home.  They like to go to art galleries

Linda Burris Webster - part of Collection Nine at Katherine Richards Art Gallery

Irene Marot - Katherine Richards Art Gallery - Sussex


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