Thursday, December 05, 2013

A tree climber who branched out as artist and gallery owner

by Zinta Aistars
Published in Southwest Michigan's Second Wave Media
December 5, 2013

Linda Rzoska at her art gallery and studio

In Celtic lore there are magical islands, lands of peace and eternal life, beyond the ninth wave. Linda Rzoska took the Ninth Wave as the name of her art gallery and studio. Zinta Aistars reports on why the name is fitting.

Ninth Wave Studio
Growing up, Linda Rzoska (ZOO-ska) lived on a dead end street in the small town of Bangor, Mich. Where the street came to a stop there was a fence. On the other side of that fence was a ravine and another world, filled with trees. She hugged them, she sat with her back leaning against their trunks, she climbed into their canopies and let her feet dangle below her, at one with the craggy branches. 

"I spent most of my time in that ravine to get away from my little brother." Rzoska laughs. "He kept punching me. My sisters called me Nature Girl."

Back then the little girl stood by the fence at the edge of the ravine, fingers curled through the wire, and gazed at the great old trees. "I could hear them whisper, ‘Come on, Linda, come closer …'" Rzoska shrugs and smiles. "I've been following that voice ever since."

The woman who grew from that girl is today an accomplished artist and the owner of Ninth Wave Studio, an art gallery in the historic Mary Louise Haynes House at 213 West Walnut Street, built in 1895, on the south edge of downtown Kalamazoo. Her specialty, her most frequent subject matter in her art, no matter the medium: trees.

Ninth Wave Studio also showcases many of greater Kalamazoo’s artists. During the Dec.  6 Art Hop, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., 15 local artists will be showcased: Mary Hatch, Michael Dunn, Francis Granzotto, David Jay Spyker, Felicia Bojkewich, Angela Olson, Beth Purdy, Alexa Karabin, Merry Petroski, Lorrie Abdo, and Melody Allen among them. 

"We participate in four to six Art Hops per year," Rzoska says. "We will probably be doing more. Otherwise, people need to make an appointment to visit the gallery, and I’ll be delighted to show you around."

Planted among the artwork of other artists are Rzoska’s own paintings, etchings, and graphite drawings. One floor above the gallery, which is on the second floor of the Haynes House, is Rzoska’s attic studio. Sketches and etchings and paintings in all stages of process line the walls and are scattered over all the surfaces, even on the floors. Magnifying glasses and lights loom over the details. Brushes, pencils, pastels, whole and broken, line shelves. And more: pine cones, chunks of broken bark, birds' nests, shells, feathers and stones. Work goes on here, and not a little magic. 

Rzoska sips tea from a ceramic mug and ponders. "I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for ..."


by Linda Rzoska

Attic studio

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