ANGELL GALLERY is proud to present TOTAL ECLIPSE OF MY HEART, a solo exhibition of recent work by Ottawa-based artist, Gavin Lynch. The show runs from February 4 through 25, 2017, with an opening reception on Saturday, February 4, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
While we intimately know the North American wilderness, our imaginations often dream us into the warm, distant places of our memories. Travelling without moving, Gavin Lynch guides us through a series of landscapes. At once narrative, abstract and figural, Lynch’s new work is both a departure and an arrival. Seduced by his richly textured surfaces, we are lead deep into a fictional jungle, (with Bonnie Tyler in our heads) where we quickly become reacquainted with Henri Rousseau’s red sun, which is well on its way into the mystical shadow of an eclipse, singing “Forever’s gonna start tonight.”
Negotiating between past and present, representation and abstraction, thought and feeling Lynch calls on Rousseau’s ghost and revisits the genre of the imaginary landscape returning myth, mystery and narrative to the trees. Leaving behind the familiar northern flora of his earlier work, he paints us into Rousseau’s imagined tropical landscapes. Devoid of humans and animals, the work invites us to inhabit the jungle for a cosmic night, to witness and to wonder. With its tripartite structure of life, transformation and destruction, the shifting landscapes of Total Eclipse of my Heart bring us into the realm of the uncanny as they pull at our incessant desire to know cause, logic and order. We are invited to gaze at nature’s exceptional circumstances, and to succumb and find comfort in not knowing or, alternately, the endless possibilities of the imagination.
Imagination is furtive, it carries, it propels, it distracts, it sustains, it delights and it terrifies, always growing within us, from that place before words. We can try to describe it with words; that place that is hot, steamy, cold or icy, dark, angry, joyous; but perhaps we are better off with undefined sounds, colours and shapes, patterns and textures – the known unknown. Like imagination, the artist can reveal and can conceal, can bring to life and can destroy, can show us a sun and with a moon, hide it; can give us a lush forest and with a fire burn it.
Painting us into his tropical vision, Lynch’s work ultimately brings us to a foundational question about human nature, “Do we claim the landscape or does it claim us?”
Text by Cara Tierney