United States, 1961
Lives and works in Weddington, North Carolina, United States.
Linda Foard Roberts’ work is deeply personal, rooted in memory, family and local histories, combined with philosophical inquiries about life, death, and basic human rights. Using 8" x 10" and 5" x 7" cameras and preferring the imperfections of old lenses and the history that is untold within them, her work is metaphorical and layered, intending to cross language and cultural barriers.
Roberts is a recipient of a 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2009 North Carolina Artist Fellowship.
Her ongoing series Belongings (2001- ), is rich with coming-of-age prose, reveals how time with our loved ones is all that truly belongs to us. Passage (2000-2006) explores the inexplicable nature of the passage of time in human experience and a foundation upon which we can all find common ground. Grounded (2003-2009) poses the environment as a reflection of ourselves and invokes a reflection of the roots we forge. Simple Truths (2005-2014) connects us with both the smallness and the significance of an individual human life, as the present moves, inexplicably, into the past. The still lifes in Alchemy (2011-2016) explore how we attach meaning to items that we use, grow to love, and cannot part with. Lastly, Becoming (2015-2016) engages the transformative cycles that shape our lives, bound by time and what it means to be human.
In 2016 Roberts completed her first monograph, Passage, published by Radius Books, debuting at Paris Photo with signings at AIPAD in New York and Hauser and Wirth. This five chapter book weaves together images and writing which explore the inevitable movement of time in life which connect us all as human beings. With accompanying essays by Deborah Willis, Ph.D., Chair Tisch School of the Arts, and Russell Lord, Curator of Photographs at The New Orleans Museum of Art and paired quotes consented by Sally Mann, and Emmet Gowin, and a poem by Billy Collins. Inspired by Wabi-sabi, the Japanese word for finding beauty in imperfection, her work focuses on memory and the acceptance of transience and impermanence.
Over the years, her projects have been mined from her personal connection to nature, humanity, and family. In 2016, distressed by the social unrest in our country, and moved by a chance experience in the balcony of a church where the enslaved had once sat, she decided she wanted to contribute to current conversations on race that would cultivate compassion, respect, and healing. “I had always felt the weight of the dark history here in the South,” and thus began the project Lament, a song of sorrow for those not heard (2016- ). This work honors, respects, and remembers those that suffered under the harrowing hand of slavery. Research for the Lament project has begun and she is creating new images utilizing an 8” x 10” camera with a lens produced circa 1860’s.
Photographs from Lament, a song of sorrow for those not heard were exhibited at the Annenberg Space for Photography and the Mint Museum of Art in the exhibition W/all: Defend, Divide and the Divine which examines the historical use and artistic treatment of walls over centuries. In 2020 Roberts received a Guggenheim Fellowship Grant in support of this series.
Collections include: The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, The Columbus Museum, Davidson College, Harry Ransom Center, The Mint Museum of Art, Museum of Photographic Arts San Diego, New Orleans Museum of Art, Norton Museum of Art, North Carolina Museum of Art, and The Ogden Museum of Art. Corporate Collections include: Bank of America, Fidelity Bank, King and Spalding, Lending Tree, The Ritz Carleton, and Haarman and Reimer.
She is represented by SOCO Gallery in Charlotte, North Carolina and Sol del RIO in Guatemala City.