Linda Alterwitz: Heat | Portraits Of The Invisible World

Artist statement:

I am interested in the whole spectrum, revealing human beings at all times of life. I am especially drawn to people who are brimming with a life force, those close to death and those whose lives are most affected by visibility and invisibility.

These portraits are captured using a high-resolution thermal camera. It takes away the familiar. It creates ambiguity to the physical characteristics that can socially divide us, such as color, gender or age. Pigmentation, tattoos, hair color cease to exist. Marks and wrinkles on the skin often disappear. The depth of field and three-dimensional object are flattened, and the figure comes to the forefront, often isolated in space, floating in nothingness, the absence of gravity. It’s disorienting. It’s not clear where the surfaces are. The images don’t connect to previous assumptions. Instead, radiating from each portrait are the biological commonalities that unite us—breath, sweat, inflammation and the warm circulation of blood. We are forced to see differently.

The thermal camera enables me to present an alternate vision of what a portrait can be—one that void of prejudice by having stripped the markers that trigger habitual responses.

At a time when we are so divided in this country, in this age of polarity and punishment, with partisan politics and strangled language, my interest is in what connects us, the raw humanity within us. My hope is to inspire people to see that connectivity.

Heat is a declaration that beyond the boundaries of visibility are elemental truths that bind us as human beings.


Linda Alterwitz is a multi-disciplinary artist utilizing photography, collage, and interactive methods. She is based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Her work is collected at the Barrick Museum of Art (UNLV), California Museum of Photography Study Library, UC Riverside, CA, Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ, Columbia College Special Collections Library, Chicago, IL, Getty Research Institute, LA, CA, Hilliard Museum of Art, University of Louisiana, Lafayette, LA, Museum of Fine Arts, Hirsch Library Collections, Houston, TX, Las Vegas Office of Cultural Affairs, Lilley Museum of Art, (UNR), LACMA Balch Art Special Collections Research Library, LA, CA, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL, Nevada Museum of Art, Center for Art & Environment, Reno, NV, Nelson Atkins Special Collections Library, Kansas City, MO, UNLV Special Collections Library & Oral History Archive, and Rochester Institute of Technology, Wallace Library, Rochester, NY.

Upcoming exhibitions include Survival of the Joshua Tree, (Getty Initiative Pacific Standard Time 2024 – PST). Current exhibitions include Injection Site: Making the Vaccines Visible at The Center, an LBGTQ+ Community Center, Las Vegas, NV (2024) and In Relation Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art, Las Vegas, NV. Recent exhibitions include Fotofest at Dishman Art Museum, La Mar University, Beaumont, TX, Hilliard Art Museum, Lafayette, LA, and New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM, among others.

She has facilitated educational programming at several art and medical institutions and led ongoing art initiatives within humanities and integrative medicine curricula. Recent programming has been in conjunction with Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, CA, UNR School of Art, Reno, Nevada and UNLV Integrative Medicine Program, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Alterwitz has received many grants including a strategic investment grant from the Montana Arts Council in 2020, the Jackpot Grant from the Nevada Arts Council in 2016, and a Puffin Foundation Grant in 2015. She was the recipient of the Nevada Arts Council Visual Artist Fellowship in 2015. In 2020, she was a finalist for the 2020 Clarence John Laughlin Award. In 2015 she was an Artist in Residence for Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida.

Her work has been published in Smithsonian Magazine, Orion Magazine, Black and White Magazine UK, Musee Magazine among others. She has exhibited her work in both traditional exhibition and site-specific installations in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, China, Spain, Israel, Germany, Greece, and Poland.


On exhibit at Sahara West Library from August 30, 2024 through November 23, 2024

Reception on Thursday, September 5, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Monday: 10:00AM – 8:00PM
Tuesday: 10:00AM – 8:00PM
Wednesday: 10:00AM – 8:00PM
Thursday: 10:00AM – 8:00PM
Friday: 10:00AM – 6:00PM
Saturday: 10:00AM – 6:00PM
Sunday: 10:00AM – 6:00PM