Art Gallery of Sudbury | Galerie d'art de Sudbury
251 rue John Street
The War Letter Project began in 2007 when Linda Finn discovered a box of old letters in a collection of her grandmother’s things. To create the artworks featured in this exhibition, Linda Finn used elements from the original letters, mixed media pieces, prints and assemblages to build narratives that provoke memories and encourage closer scrutiny. “These old letters fascinated and intrigued me because they offered a glimpse of wartime experiences—understated comments of the human condition that are not only publicly significant but privately meaningful,” describes Linda Finn. “As a woman and an artist who has never experienced war, these letters evoked powerful emotions in me. I felt compelled to honour the words found in the letters by integrating parts of them into new types of communications.”
Essie Smith (grandmother of the artist) lived on a farm not far from Beamsville, Ontario, where she corresponded with many of the young men from her rural community during both World Wars, sending them encouragement through parcels and letters. The soldiers, stationed overseas, wrote back to her and she saved many of the letters that she felt were particularly significant. “The wartime letters represent a link between the women at home and the men overseas during both World Wars. Letters, parcels, and other ephemera are a part of this history, as are certain locales. By bringing these components together in assemblages and textile pieces, I present a different commentary for the viewer to read, one that sometimes expresses pain and suffering, but most often hope.”
Born in Parry Sound, Linda Finn moved to Orillia with her family when she was a year old. Twenty-two years later, she returned to Northern Ontario, “immediately feeling I had arrived home.” This affinity with the land led her to respond to the landscape and its people in a variety of ways—first through painting in watercolour, then moving to printmaking, painting in acrylic and eventually, mixed media.
Since then, Linda Finn’s work has been shown in over 200 exhibitions and earned her election to the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour, the Ontario Society of Artists, the Society of Canadian Artists and the Northern Ontario Art Association. The recipient of many awards for her artwork, Linda Finn has also received the Lescarbot Award for her volunteer efforts in the arts community, as well as receiving funding from Ontario Arts Council. Linda Finn’s work may be found in many public and corporate collections such as those of the Government of Ontario, Ontario Northland, Cambrian College, the Timmins Museum, Northeast Cancer Centre, CrownX, as well as numerous private collections around the world. WAR LETTERS PROJECT by Linda Finn received special funding from the Ontario Arts Council.