Lelde KalmiteSince receiving BFA and MFA degrees from the University of Chicago, I have exhibited my paintings in Chicago, the Midwest and Europe. In 1995 I earned a Ph.D. in art education (University of Minnesota) and have worked as a teacher, nonprofit arts administrator, and independent consultant. I currently maintain a studio and serve as curator at the Bridgeport Art Center (1200 West 35th Street, Chicago, IL 60609), where my work may be viewed by appointment (708-369-2355) and during periodic open studios. I can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Most of my work can be described as essentially abstract landscape, with no hint of human presence. Over time, a personal vocabulary of formal elements has evolved in my painting. Straight lines imply distance, while vertical tonal gradations represent time, since we measure time by the passage of days, and whether morning or evening, the sky at the horizon is lighter than that above. The juxtapositioning of distant vistas beyond some kind of flat closer barrier gives the impression of a wall or window or door. Receding vanishing lines, so beloved in Renaissance art, to me symbolize the role of human reason when observing nature, and diagonal lines function as shadows. I have been gradually turning away from minimalism in my painting, which is a much more difficult (additive) process than reducing elements in a minimalist direction.

In recent years, an ominous quality seems to be working its way into my paintings. If creating art is a personal search for meaning, one's art cannot escape reflecting the spirit of the times. Our own historical period is characterized by ever greater pollution and exploitation of the natural environment - the air, water and soil - resulting in extinction of increasing numbers of plants and animals and threatening the very future of our world.

My imaginary landscapes seem to echo this anxiety about the destruction of the natural world. But along with the paintings, I also enjoy drawing what I observe in my environment, particularly garden and landscape subjects. Some of these drawings are manipulated digitally to explore variations on the originals. So my artwork is a combination of lugubrious apocalyptic visions on the one hand, and realistic observations of nature on the other. I continue to attempt to resolve these two approaches and bring into my painting some of the elements of the drawings.

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