Lou Lynn: Out of the Ordinary
Curated by Arin Fay
Somewhere between a Through the Looking-Glass sense of distortion and a scientific exactitude we find Lou Lynn’s Out of the Ordinary. The components of this installation challenge the viewers’ sense of scale and proportion while appeasing the eye with the most perfect pastilles of surface shine and tactility. There is a meaningful balance between the feelings of nostalgia evoked by recognizable utilitarian objects, and the impact of small things writ impeccably and improbably large. Button Box (2014), Fasteners (2014), Tools (2011) Utensils (2011-12), Buckles (2016), Awl (2016), Hand-Comb (2016), and Tracing Wheel (2016) are displayed in such a way, through the use of bright background colour and muted tones, groupings, mounting techniques, lighting and shadow, that one is drawn to the contour and character of the pieces on display; what Lynn herself calls “a world of form and texture”.
Questions of craft and construction are among the overarching considerations of Out of the Ordinary. The “ten-thousand-hour rule” popularized by Malcolm Gladwell is brought to mind when viewing these works, primarily because of the awe-inspiring marriage of materials (glass, bronze and wood) and methodical craftsmanship. Lynn has said that the “work sits comfortably on the line between contemporary craft and sculpture” (Cahiers metiers d’art,Craft Journal, feature article by Denis Longchamps, 2010). This comment rings particularly true since the work straddles so many binaries: fact/fantasy; exaggeration/exactitude; utilitarian/impracticality; symbolic/literal. The materials and methods which constitute these works have as long a legacy as the objects being depicted, and are as much a part of Lou Lynn’s macroscopic artistic investigation.
In his review of the exhibition at Centre Materia in Quebec City, Bruno Andres notes that “by performing a series of distortions and creating ambiguous objects of contemplation based on the formal vocabulary of functionality, Lou Lynn brings familiar objects out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary.” (GLASS: The UrbanGlass Art Quarterly; Spring 2015, NYC, N.Y.). Not only is this observation perfectly apt but it also reinforces the essential conversation that is taking place within the work: the articulation of the exceptional quality and form of everyday things. Of artist Robert Therrien’s work, Kathryn Lloyd says, “[t]he experimentation with scale also has a psychological dimension, making viewers feel small in relation to these otherwise conventional household objects; prompts a childlike nostalgia; one which perhaps recalls Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726)”; an observation which is equally pertinent to Lou Lynn’s past and most current work.
Out of the Ordinary combines the rigours of contemporary craft with the intellectual inquiry of the avant-garde. The viewer is (re)introduced to the most humble of artifact, honed, honoured and re-contextualized. In a world surfeited with consumer goods, Lynn’s sculptures provoke recognition of the truly exceptional properties of familiar objects and the inherent quality, form and function of things which are often overlooked
Out of the Ordinary follows in the footsteps and includes components of Lou Lynn’s other series: Implements and Objects, Tools as Artifacts, and Utensil. In combining the variables of her practice, Lynn brings disparate and symbolic elements into unexpected symbioses.
Lou Lynn is an artist living in Winlaw, BC. Her credentials are extensive: she is an alumnus of the Pilchuck Glass School (founded by Dale Chihuly, et al.) she has twice been nominated for the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (Saidye Bronfman Award), in 2010 she was inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA), and she has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1986.