Linda Kessler is a painter, photographer and educator who began her love of art at the age of 11, with an award-winning abstract painting of New York’s World Fair. Self-taught as a photographer, she picked up her first camera, a Kodak Brownie, at 8 years old. She has been painting and photographing ever since. Her interest in painting and photography, often marrying the two mediums, is demonstrated in her recent project, “Subway Sleepers”. A study of subway riders in slumber on New York City subways was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and was exhibited in a solo show in New York City in June 2016.
Her curiosity in other cultures took her to Brazil, where she lived and worked for two years from 1990 – 1992. A pivotal period, she turned to the camera as the most direct instrument to represent and capture the essence of the people. Ms. Kessler returned to New York and completed her graduate studies in painting. Her work was a departure from representation, often seen in her photography. She created non-objective paintings, using unconventional and recycled materials, including henna, marble dust and tar. Releasing muscular armor by slamming, ripping, gouging, drilling, scraping, and puncturing, adding and removing layer upon layer, she revealed the form at its crux, uniting the balancing of polarities. Her most recent paintings are abstract expressionistic in nature, continuing to find a balance between representational, figurative and non-objective.
A graduate degree in mental health counseling from Northeastern University sparked her interest in psychology in her early years. This led to a position as supervisor of an art therapy program at a major hospital in NYC. As an educator she taught painting in Brazil and fine art and photography in middle/high school for the New York City Department of Education for fifteen years. Ms. Kessler currently volunteers her time and teaches photography to veterans, the brain-injured survivors community, and immigrant high school students.
Ms. Kessler was born in Brooklyn (Flatbush) and Queens (Rockaway), New York and has lived in various countries including São Paulo, Brazil, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Viareggio, Italy, Paris, France and currently Barcelona, Spain. She received her M.F.A. from Pratt Institute, B.A. from Brooklyn College and attended the Art Students League in New York.
Ms. Kessler is currently working on personal projects while she continues her fine art photography and painting. Her painting has culminated in an exploration in color, shape and line, a full circle to her origins.
She currently lives and works in her hometown, Brooklyn Heights, New York.
“Linda Kessler is an admirable talent who has always been able to find the spiritual core of her subjects. She has a wonderfully quiet center that reaches out in a patient way to make contact. Her photographs bring out the best and enlighten all that is good and right in a beautiful world that too often is viewed through a dark prism. Very few have the native intelligence to appreciate the difference and Linda Kessler definitely knows the difference.”
Clinical Professor of Photojournalism,
University of Texas, Austin
Click here to view Linda Kessler’s resumé.