Linda a. Day (1952-2011) was an American abstract painter. She emerged in the late stages of postwar American abstract expressionist painting in new york in the 1970's and 1980's. Having taught and exhibited her work for over three decades (late 1970s until 2011), she spanned multiple generations of painters while continuing to produce vital and ever-changing new work. She relocated to California in 1992 where she resided and worked in Venice Beach, West Los Angeles and Sacramento. day was a tenured professor at California State university, long beach, and had A HOME AND STUDIO IN SAN PEDRO, CA.
Linda Adair Day was born in 1952 in Worchester Massachusetts, the first of three daughters, to Charles Day and Jean Bonnell. She grew up throughout the United States and Europe as her father pursued his career as a construction engineer for Proctor and Gamble.
Graduating from The American School in London, Linda returned stateside to attend Colby College and majored in English literature, her studies included a junior year back in England at Oxford University’s Manchester College where she realized that she wanted to pursue a life as an artist. After receiving her BA from Colby College, she earned an MFA in Painting from Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute in 1978. Simultaneously, across the river in Manhattan, Linda was developing her practice as a working artist and part time teacher.
In 1992 Linda moved 2,800 miles across the country to serve as a visiting artist at UCLA. Her original plan was to return to her Chrystie Street loft in NYC, but in Los Angeles she found a supportive artist community that she was connecting with. Along with an eager and invigorated student body, and meeting her soon-to-be husband, Linda decided to begin laying roots in California.
Linda had a fruitful career as an instructor beginning as a visiting artist at several major institutions including the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Syracuse University, and after moving to California to teach at UCLA, went on to perform as an Adjunct Professor at UCLA, UC Riverside, USC, California State University Sacramento, Occidental College and Otis School of Art and Design. At the time of her passing in 2011, she was a tenured Professor of Painting and Drawing at California State University Long Beach.
Teaching held a special place in Linda’s life. There was little difference between Linda the person/artist, and Linda the teacher. To know Linda as a teacher was to know her as just about anything else outside of the academic context and she emanated inspiration to most who came into her orbit. As her husband David recounts: “One thing I never forgot was when Hector Romero, one of her recently graduated UCLA grad students, addressed her as “Prof” as he had always done. Linda quickly corrected him, pointing out that now that they were colleagues that was no longer appropriate.” This gesture of kinship was indicative of Linda’s spirit of breaking down artificial hierarchy commonly found in the academic world.
Linda was known for sharing her own personal “Manifesto” with all of her students that encouraged all artists, including herself, to take their creativity to their ultimate heights by not only looking at their work from every possible angle, but sharing that exploration through the partnership of the artist community. For Linda, each other is all that we have and that strong support would be vital for a productive creative exploration. This sense of constant evolution was not lost on critic and curator Christopher Miles who wrote in 2003: “(Day’s) constant evolution and innovation as an artist is remarkable, and her determination to argue through her work for the relevance and integration of painting in a world of competing and changing media is made breathtakingly evident in each body of work she produces.”
Through both solo and group exhibits, Linda’s work has been exhibited widely. A career retrospective, “Swimming in Paint,” was presented posthumously at California State University, Long Beach’s University Art Museum in September 2012. Because Linda left behind a large body of work, her survivors are committed to the overall goal of assuring her work continues to be exhibited and collected. Additionally, family, colleagues, friends and supporters have funded a scholarship award in her name that is presented annually to a promising student from the California State University Long Beach drawing and painting program.
Linda’s spirit lives on through her art, and is shared by those who knew her. Her modesty about herself, particularly when it came to her art, was an endearing quality. For Linda it was truly the journey that mattered- her artworks as objects were simply the “finished product” that signified the end of one journey.