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A Greenpoint Artist Mourns the Environment Through Her Paintings

A Greenpoint artist is bringing her environmentalist zeal to life through her paintings.

Last month, Nikki Lindt, who has lived and worked out of Greenpoint for the past ten years, began showcasing her work depicting the psychological impacts of changes in the environment at the Heskin Contemporary art gallery in Manhattan.

In her second solo exhibit at the gallery, Lindt is continuing to explore the theme of Solastalgia, a neologism coined by Australian environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht, who incidentally also flew over from Australia for Lindt’s exhibit.

Solastalgia explores the distress and pain caused by changes in one’s home environment in contrast with nostalgia, which is the sense of melancholy and longing one experiences when away from home.

Lindt spent the first seven years of her life in the Netherlands, after which her family moved to rural Pennsylvania, where she grew up near the city of Pittsburgh. Her paintings are often a reflection of her feelings in regards to the changes she now witnesses in the rural landscape of her formative years.

“I grew up in nature and coming back to it years later, the areas that you played in as a kid, they’re no longer there,” she said. “It’s sort of like experiencing homesickness while you’re at home.”

In many of her works in the project, a fixed human figure is usually seen surrounded by a steadily dissolving landscape – trees, the soil, the sea, and the sky, to name a few. For Lindt, it is her way to express concerns about the rampant destruction of nature and man’s flagrant disregard for it.

“It’s my way of doing it,” she said, about being called an environmental activist.

Painting and drawing first caught Lindt’s eye when she was 12 years old and riding in her family’s car along with her father and grandmother. She said the reflection of her father’s silhouette, driving the car, caught her eye. She was unable to tear herself away from that image, and it’s what inspired her to become an artist thereafter.

Lindt began working on this particular project five years ago and described how putting up a show can be a taxing and time consuming process – ensuring that one’s ideas are distilled onto the palette and that each show has a unique character.

“She is a very thoughtful and exciting painter,” said Elizabeth Heskin, the owner of Heskin Contemporary. “She contemplates her paintings subjects and then makes each painting look so effortless. She is a dream to work with and she inspires me.”

Lindt received her formal training in the Netherlands and then moved back to the States to finish her Masters in Fine Arts at Yale University. For several years she traveled between the Netherlands and the States before she decided to settle down with her husband in Greenpoint.

She said she moved to the neighborhood at the time because a number of her artist friends had begun calling it home and because the rents were inexpensive. Today she is thankful for the increasing number of opportunities the arts world has generated, particularly with the widespread use of technology, but she is skeptical about the costs, and the increasing difficulty of artists to sustain themselves in neighborhoods like Greenpoint.

“Over the last years, many [artists] are having a harder time affording to live here and are moving elsewhere,” she said.

For the moment, Lindt is forging ahead, undaunted.

Nikki Lindt: dis place, May 22 to June 28, Heskin Contemporary, 443 West 37th Street, ground floor, 212-967-4972

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