The Linens are a groundbreaking series of forty-eight acrylic paintings on unstretched Belgian linen made from 1970 to 1977 by Ciel Bergman, begun at age thirty-two. Ranging from a starkly minimal aesthetic to representations that explore ideas of philosophy, The Linens began as a meditative practice to eradicate symbolic representation from Bergman's art. She called the process "emptying out," and after a deeply affirming conversation with Georgia O'Keeffe in 1972, she wrote, "I knew I had to become empty of the symbolism I had been using."
Although Bergman simultaneously struggled with and embraced symbols, they would appear again beside themes and philosophies that would remain in her work for the rest of her life: feminism, sexuality, and gender. The Linens established the success of Ciel Bergman as an artist--an artist remembered as vibrant, prolific, and tenacious, much like this series, which so well defines her.