Working in figurative ceramics for the past 30 years, Linda Ganstrom explores issues that relate to her personal experiences, yet ask questions and reveal universal truths. Growing up on a farm in central Kansas, themes of seeds, growth, transformation and potential were central to her early work. While raising two children with her artist/husband, Sheldon Ganstrom, Linda taught for seven years at Barton County Community College and another thirteen at Fort Hays State University, both in rural Kansas. Issues related to these experiences including; memory, family obligation, gender roles, spirituality and personal identity are recurring themes in her work. The various roles of women in the late 20th and early 21st century, their connection and responsibility to their community and the environment, as well as the changing perceptions of women?s potential are reflected in Linda?s figurative sculptures.
Largely hand built, and often formed of slabs or coils, Linda?s figures have a narrative, storytelling appeal that is enhanced by the addition of mixed media elements. They have been exhibited in over a hundred state, regional and national juried exhibitions including the USA Craft Today, The National Ceramic Competition at the Kennedy?Douglas Center, Feats of Clay, and the Ceramic International Exhibition at Zanesville, Ohio and the Crafts National at Pennsylvania State among others. Published in Ceramics Monthly, Ceramics Technical, Studio Potter, ClayTimes and several books, including 500 Figures and The Figure in Clay, Linda?s work has also been shown in various group and one-person exhibitions and is included in public and private collections.
An installation of bodycast pressmolded sculptures, figurines and clay paintings entitled "BodyBook: Live Love" emerged from Linda's sabbatical in 2003. One woman exhibitions at the Wichita Center for the Arts, The Moss-Thorns Gallery at FHSU, Pittsburg State University, Bethany and Hesston Colleges provided venues for the installation. Invitations by the Daum Museum of Art to exhibit in "Sculptural Ceramics" and by The Museum of Nebraska Art to exhibit in "Rendezvous" are two recent highlights of Linda's career. Being named the 2002 Distinguished Scholar at FHSU was another.
Most recently, Linda has been traveling to China to dedicate the installation of public sculptures intended to symbolize the friendship between her university and their partners in China. In addition to meeting and working with colleagues in China, Linda has benefited from art travel to important ceramic sites such as Xian, Dehua, Jingdezhen and Foshan near Guangzhou. This international perspective has reinforced her beliefs that all mankind is motivated by the same love and fear and that if we are to build a better future, we must respect our differences and celebrate our commonalities in Art as well as in life. This philosophy has fueled new work dealing with spiritual and religious themes illustrated through the figure.