In each portrait Pearlman Karlsberg scrutinizes what the face portrays, and the person conveys. She finds moments of strength, decency, calm or vulnerability; traces of pain, self- protection, openness, or glimmers of hopefulness, pride and earnestness emerge in these faces. Pearlman Karlsberg shares that the difficult and satisfying challenge in her portraiture is to portray some truth and in so doing to suggest each individual's complex humanity.
The ‘She Spoke Up’ series began as a reaction to the destructive and painful political, social and cultural climates inflamed in the last few years. In addition, the cascading events and unending revelations of the Me Too movement only increased a sense of urgency to respond. With the centennial anniversary of the formal adoption of the 19th Amendment, and the surreal landscape of the Covid pandemic added to the mix, Linda chose to elevate the work, achievements and words of women who have spoken truth to power, pursued freedom and equity, and in so doing transformed some part of the broader world.
Extended research underscored the depth of their accomplishments, fortitude, commitment and dedication to justice and excellence in their respective fields; and informed these charcoal works. Birds have appeared in previous work. Symbolizing freedom, expansiveness, keen vision, and spirituality, and free from boundaries, birds are potent symbols of humanity’s hopes and dreams. As the pieces and process evolved, she decided to integrate specific bird imagery into each work, finding their symbolism often uncannily mirrored the characteristics of each woman. Lastly, Pearlman Karlsberg integrated the women’s own words and/or writing about them that spoke to her about their motivations and unique visions.
Pearlman Karlsberg intended that these pieces together, when shown, would make a direct statement on the times as well as do the necessary work of amplifying the strength, accomplishments and voices of women. The series intends to be a reflection of the struggles and inequities of the past, to underscore the harsh realities of the present, to highlight the powerful transformative accomplishments of intelligent and dedicated women, and to suggest possibility for future tomorrows.