Dale Lindman: Between Time and Place 

May 8, 2024

Bellevue College art professor Dale Lindman's exhibition, “Between Time and Place,” is on display at the Bellevue Art Museum now until Aug. 25. 

Dale Lindman speaks in front of his circle art.

Lindman’s work is on display at the Bellevue Art Museum now through Aug. 25 

Bellevue College art professor Dale Lindman always liked circles. The shapes started turning up in his paintings from his earliest years, but it’s only recently that he started painting on circular forms. 

“After painting for 50 years, I’m still trying to paint my masterpiece,” said Lindman with a smile, attributing his favorite quote to a renowned Northwest painter Mike Spafford. “That’s what Mike used to say. They are good words to live by.”  

Three people view a rectangular piece of art.
People view art at the Bellevue Art Museum. Courtesty of Bellevue Art Museum

As an artist, Lindman remains open to experimentation. As a fixture of the Northwest arts scene himself, Lindman has interacted with the “who’s who” list of prominent artists. Spafford, for example, critiqued younger Lindman’s work during his time as a graduate student at the University of Washington and the two remained friends throughout Spafford’s life. 

“He liked my work, and I loved his,” Lindman said of Spafford, who passed away in 2022.  During the 1980s, Lindman had a studio in Pioneer Square, the then center of Seattle’s artistic scene, and shared gallery space and representation with glass artist Dale Chihuly.   

“I used to joke he was big Dale, and I was little Dale,” he said. “There was a time when everyone coming into Foster/White Gallery was looking for the glass.”  

But also hanging on the walls were Lindman’s complex oil paintings.  

Over the years, Lindman has been represented by several galleries, including the Francine Seders and Grover/Thurston galleries, Foster/White Gallery, Darnell Fine Art Gallery, and Shoshana Wayne Gallery in Los Angeles. His most recent exhibition, “Between Time and Place,” is on display at the Bellevue Art Museum now until Aug. 25. 

Lindman’s paintings are often described as being meditative or contemplative.   

“My wife says my best paintings are immersed in light,” said Lindman, who also likened the feeling that a painting evokes to the emotion experienced by a hiker when turning a corner and being surprised by a view. He hopes visitors to Bellevue Art Museum will experience similar awe but also be touched by the emotion that he has invested into the work. 

 “While I may want the viewer to feel a certain thing upon seeing a painting, it’s hard to describe in words,” Lindman added. He appreciates if those visitors will just spend some time contemplating the art at Bellevue Art Museum as it interacts with space and light.  “After the show went up, I felt really good about how it looks. The paintings are strong enough to hold the space.” 

The decision to paint on a circular form began a few years ago.  

“I saw some circular panels for sale and started experimenting. I’d call them excruciatingly awful for the first year, but then it jelled together,” said Lindman. “As a young abstractionist, I would do things like this to try to keep myself open. I remember giving myself permission to go really wild in the 1980s. I am into the process to surprise myself.” 

The paintings in the current exhibition contain multiple layers. “Before the Wind #1” (2019) uses acrylic emulsions, dry pigments, glass microbeads, and iron filings on two wood panels that are 48 inches in diameter. It looks very earthy, almost burnt.  “Circles of Blue” (2023) echoes this format with the same materials but a brighter palette.  

Lindman’s art career began at a community college, North Hennepin College. He credits his mother for getting him to go back to school after he graduated high school and went to work in a local factory.  

“She called up the college and said my son is smart and his brains are turning to mush working in a factory,” he laughed.   

From there, he went to St. Cloud State University in central Minnesota and studied with David Brown, a second-generation abstract expressionist. He also began teaching at St. Cloud State University in 1975.  

“I’ll be 50 years as a teacher soon,” he noted. 

“Between Time and Place” art by Dale Lindman. Courtesy of Bellevue Art Museum

Moving to Seattle, Lindman received his Master of Fine Arts at the University of Washington in 1982. With his studio in Pioneer Square and representation by local galleries, he found himself interacting with many of the major painters working in the region, including fondly remembered discussions about art with “Jake,” the painter Jacob Lawrence, who settled in Seattle and taught at the University of Washington. More recently he has been sharing his memories of those years and his own practice with a student videographer, Patrick Ferguson, who has been filming Lindman for a project. 

Today Lindman works from a studio nearer his home, taking part in open studio tours on an “every other year” basis.  

“It’s a lot of work to clean the place up to have people go through,” said Lindman, but post-Covid he found himself enjoying a recent studio tour which brought out both people who were connoisseurs of Northwest art and the neighbors. 

Lindman’s paintings can also be found in many prominent private and public collections including at the Microsoft Corporation; Neiman Marcus Corporate Headquarters in Dallas, Texas; Nordstrom Corporation; Boeing Corporate Headquarters in Chicago, Illinois; Safeco Insurance; and Seattle’s Swedish Hospital.  

Lindman began teaching art at Bellevue College in 1993. In 2022 he received the Bellevue College Foundation Excellence Award for Outstanding Full-Time Faculty.  As a teacher, he takes the same approach as he does to his art and encourages his students to think for themselves. 

One of his favorite assignments is to ask the students to create a self-portrait.  

“They become really invested in the work and have a lot to say,” Lindman noted.  

What he finds most frustrating in today’s art world is the approach of clapping on headphones and speeding through an exhibition to see the highlights mentioned in the narration. A recent trip to Paris left him dodging such “art tourists.” 

“Nobody told me what to think when I started going around galleries. I’m afraid touring a museum is becoming more about selfies and fast experience,” he said. 

Today he encourages his students to find their own answers to the questions raised by art, including experimenting in their expressions of themselves. 

Patrons can take a very slow walk through Bellevue Art Museum this summer for “Between Place and Time.” As the museum’s own description notes, these are open-ended paintings by an artist who invites you to take “a moment of respite.”