ANGELL GALLERY is proud to present Mixed Greens by Wakefield, Quebec-based Gavin Lynch. The exhibition runs from September 24 to October 24, 2020 by appointment.
“Productive” and “generative” are words Gavin Lynch uses to describe his time in the studio while self-isolating during the early months of the pandemic. For him, this past summer was a time to reflect on his progress to date as an artist and to ask himself questions about where he wants his paintings to go. “Back in March, it felt like the world might be ending, but it also seemed like a good time for risk-taking,” he says. “The pandemic prompted me to start exploring avenues that I may not have otherwise.”
Until now, Lynch created bodies of work containing narrative threads that played out either in repeated motifs across paintings or in the arrangement of the works in the gallery. Stories – often with environmental undertones – were told primarily through landscapes composed of forms that referenced geometric abstraction, but were representational enough that viewers could situate themselves within recognizable settings. “In early summer, I started investigating digital-editing tools and making landscapes that were more abstract,” Lynch says. “I wanted to challenge myself, and find ways to complicate my process of image-making. For example, few of the new paintings have horizon lines that anchor the composition.”
For the tall, scroll-like paintings, Lynch used the photo-editing Flood Select tool to first create digital collages incorporating forms of endangered Canadian wildflowers. “The tool isn't accurate; it always picks up a few stray pixels surrounding the image the user is isolating,” explains Lynch. “So, the resulting paintings appear as if they are falling apart or are glitchy.” (Lynch cites the roughly torn pieces of paper Matisse used for his Cut-Outs as the paintings' departure point.) By reinterpreting digital sources through paint, the works become digital/analogue hybrids, illustrating how technology is used to manipulate and re-present images of the world.
Lynch also employs the tried-and-true painterly gesture of the stripe to disrupt the picture plane. In Pavilion (all works 2020), the landscape is partially obscured by a curtain of Daniel Buren-esque hard-edged minimalism, while in Nouveau Paysage green and white lines meander across the surface of the canvas like a doodle drawn over an image on a phone.
Ultimately, these works are about an artist finding new problems to resolve through painting. Thematic cohesion is secondary, although the works are unified by their spirit of experimentation. “I wanted to show the best and most interesting paintings from the studio,” he says. “Of course, Mixed Greens references the main colour of my paintings, but perhaps this show actually presents a 'mixed bag' of directions my work could take.”
– Text by Bill Clarke