Naomi Schlinke

Femme Fatale
50″x38″; ink on mulberry paper; 2019

Naomi Schlinke
Austin, Texas, USA


The source material for all of these collages is my own ink-on-mulberry-paper paintings. Ink, with its unparalleled fluidity, staining intensity, and transparency, has become an essential feature of my practice. Through gesture and organically arising stain forms, the painting becomes an alternate world of forms and spaces that mirror patterns from nature—atmospheric, kinesthetic, tactile, and tectonic.

Using scissors, razors, rolling wheels, and my hands, shapes emerge from my physical handling of the painted paper, much as they do when applying the ink itself. Focusing on a movement that goes through my whole body and my imagination, this dynamic is then transferred on through to the scissors–turn this way, turn that way, curve, cut, begin, and end. My hands trace the edges of the sheet or fragment and at some arbitrary moment I cut into it without regard for what is on the surface. The fact that the ink has bled through to the back of the paper means that every piece has a two-sided possibility. This duality introduces instances of relatedness, difference, and serendipity that I could not create deliberately. Once mounted to a support, its new envelope of space, the collage may appear to resume its former life simply as a painting.

Although the fragments are usually made from a single painting, once they fuse, they create a completely transformed entity. Impersonating living beings, they move and gesture, generating uncanny resemblances that suggest life and presence. Standing, spinning, floating, twisting, and tilting, the mystery of this embodiment is an aspect of abstraction that intrigues me.


Since relocating to Austin, Texas from San Francisco in 1994, Naomi Schlinke has exhibited her work at numerous venues including the Robert McClain Gallery in Houston, The Dallas Contemporary and the MAC, Women & Their Work, Texas State University in San Marcos, D Berman Gallery in Austin, D. M. Allison Gallery in Houston, and the Dougherty Art Center in Austin.

Before returning to Texas, she exhibited with the Braunstein-Quay Gallery in San Francisco. In the 1970s and early 80s, Schlinke danced with the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company and the Joe Goode Performance Group, both based in San Francisco. Before moving to San Francisco, she received a B.A. and M.A. in dance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently a resident of Austin, she grew up in Dallas, Texas.

Much of Schlinke’s approach to collage and painting is based on the experiences that she absorbed as a dancer. The ideas of Merce Cunningham, John Cage, and other Black Mountain graduates figured prominently in the artistic milieu of San Francisco in the 1970s.


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Ancient Rhythm
50″x38″; ink on mulberry paper; 2019

Coil Up
48″x32″; ink on mulberry paper; 2019

Gentle Jungle
50″x38″; ink on mulberry paper; 2019

Sharp Shooter
50″x38″; ink on mulberry paper; 2019