Winter Tales

Marie's Sister_413356-01-48x48-f-1

Anne's Sister, polyflex photographic print, Linda Adele Goodine

The work of Linda Adele Goodine, one of our city’s most renowned artists, hangs in the Harrison Center gallery this month.  I was mesmerized by Goodine’s dreamy, large scale photographic prints, mostly wintry scenes featuring beautiful young girls, and immediately started perusing her other brilliantly colored collections.  Some of the greatest art critics in the world have reviewed her work, and I could not hope to speak eloquently about her art, but she lives in our neighborhood and I wanted to ask her “Why?”  When I asked to speak with her, she replied, “Can you come over now?”  I jumped at the chance.

Linda Adele Goodine moved to Indianapolis to teach at Herron School of Art + Design.  She didn’t only bring her world-lauded photographs and her gift of teaching (which has impacted hundreds of our future artist leaders), but she and her husband also rescued and rebuilt not one but two historic downtown buildings.  Their latest venture sits just behind the Harrison Center in the historic Old Northside.  When Linda Adele and her husband first saw the former All Souls Unitarian Church (a 1913 Arts and Crafts style building by Kurt Vonnegut’s grandfather and his partners), the building was “falling in on itself.”   Thankfully, the couple are both artists who felt the energy and beauty of the derelict building and were willing to give years to restoring it to even better than glory, converting it into a family home and studio space.  The former sanctuary with its dark wood plank ceiling and criss-crossing arching beams still bearing the old church chandeliers now serves as their living room.  The massive stone fireplace, stained glass windows, overstuffed velvet furniture and abundance of candelabras and fine art give it the darkly romantic air of an old English manor house.  I would spend all winter there.

But Linda Adele not only welcomed me into her home, she also helped me begin to “see” her art.  One of her favorite books, Isak Dinesen’s Winter Tales, gave her the title for this show, a magical exploration of love and loss, coming of age, mothers and daughters. My favorite Dinesen story is Babette’s Feast, where a quiet artist spends a fortune to provide one extravagant dinner for those who’ve been kind to her.  The guests are simple and unsophisticated and do not understand the immensity of the gift they are being given.  I am truly an “emerging patron” and this is how I often feel around great art and great artists . . . like I’m being given a gift that I don’t really understand.  Adele sees connections everywhere and her work is richly layered, full of metaphor.  Over steaming tea and dark chocolate, she graciously opened one of her books and did what I never expect an artist to do -- she helped me see what she saw, hear the message she was trying to communicate.  A whole new world in her work opened up to me.

Today I am grateful for the many in this neighborhood who have committed years to the redemption, restoration and careful preservation of hundreds of Old Northside properties.  And I am thankful for the many great artists who could work anywhere, but choose to create and share here in our city.  They are changing the face of our city, one house, one photograph, one painting or piece of sculpture at a time.  Thank you, Linda Adele, and the many like you for your gifts to our city.