Ron Linden (born 1940, Chicago, Illinois) is a California abstract painter, independent curator, and an Associate Professor of art at Los Angeles Harbor College, Wilmington. He lives and works in the San Pedro area of Los Angeles.
Linden received his Bachelor of Fine Art and Masters in Fine Art at the University of Illinois. His classmates included artists William Wegman (photographer), Guy Goodwin. Louise Fishman, William Mahan, Al Loving, Robert H. Cumming, Gerald Hayes (artist), and more. Linden also attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1972 Linden relocated to California. He worked as a scenic artist in the Hollywood film industry for 25 years.During this time he helped establish artist communities in Pasadena, downtown Los Angeles and San Pedro, California. In 1978 Linden received the individual artist's grant in painting from National Endowment for the Arts.
In 1975, Jeff Perone wrote in Artforum magazine about Linden's work in "Both Kinds: Contemporary LA Art": "... Precious objects are precious objects and my personal preferences from Diebenkorn 1945 To Linden 1975 means the same thing; the works resemble each other closely, only Linden's a little more loose in technique and tighter in concept it does not matter how far the distance traveled, chronologically or psychologically. The new looks like the old, and the good things, new or old, are tradition, as in the new tradition, a tradition that looks good. Linden Is expressing himself, goddamnit."
Also writing on the "Both Kinds: Contemporary LA Art" in Artweek, Judith Dunham observes:. "Linden works with acrylic and graphite, combining both to make a sooty, crusty, intentionally rough and ugly surface. He limits color to graphite blacks and grays warm acrylic neutrals and so that the motions of painting are paramount in the final products. "
In the Los Angeles Times, Suzanne Muchnic writes: We read them but can not be sure we grasp all their meaning. (The artist draws on literary sources but does not reveal them.) Instead of putting us off, Linden pulls us into wonder. If all else fails, the paintings work as abstract compositions. They are built of various combinations of acrylic, wood and fabric in gray, black and ochre. "
"Ron Linden is a significant painter because he resists convenience and, sometimes, even himself. but integrity will out. In the end, Linden makes the difficulty of making the difficult look easy," Writes Peter Plagens, In the catalog essay for the Cue Foundation.
Mario Naves writes "Picasso's Ghost," about the paintings by Ron Linden exhibited at the CUE Foundation, in the New York Observer, January, 2008: Riddles by the ghost of Cubism and Pop's cool ironies, painter Ron Linden's milky investigation of surface, space and denuded biomorphism are only nominally sensual -. Paint-as-stuff chases after painting as intellectual pursuit Mr. Linden's gift is that brainy impatience doesn’t quell a fractured and elusive poetry - if anything it engenders it.
Los Angeles art critic Mat Gleason wrote "One Southern California art veteran, Ron Linden, is also curating in the South Bay. His TransVagrant / Warschaw Gallery in San Pedro has hosted exhibitions for almost a decade now, specializing in rigorous, almost scholarly shows, primarily of painting. Be they solo or group shows, Linden’s space has a severe eye for the reductive, the historical and the dedicated. Fearlessly championing Modernist forms and playing the long game with art history, TransVagrant and Warschaw exists in a context free from art world tropes that chase what was on the cover of last month’s ArtForum. It is one of the crowning achievements of the South Bay, inspiring and informing the whole scene.
Early in his career Linden was highly influenced by other contemporary artists in his sphere. The abstract expressionism of Willem de Kooning, Philip Guston, the neo-dadaist Jasper Johns and in particular Richard Diebenkorn permeates the minimalist style that Linden is known for. Artweek Magazine wrote that Linden's work has been compared to Diebenkorn to the extent that the work of both artists is both intellectual and emotional.
In the field of music, the experimental composer John Cage was influential with his 'chance related' form of music, challenging assumptions of musicianship and musical experience. Linden also cites, Phillip Glass, Brian Eno and John Cale, Zappa and Van Vliet.